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tea party (just image)

image by rory midhani

Hi, popsicles and furnaces! It’s time for the Friday Open Thread. A time for thoughts and feelings and visual representations of the same.

I am in Montreal right now and relatively spoiled because (1) I live in a relatively large building with many elderly people and do not pay for heat and (2) my apartment is small enough that I can warm it up basically by cooking, which works for me because I am currently only interested in eating eggs in all forms and also cruciferous vegetables and those foods are better cooked. I can wear regular pants and a regular sweater and feel fine unless I eat something cold or go near the windows or get my head wet.

this was almost certainly via buzzfeed

representative of my current mental state, and also what happens if my head gets wet

Leaving the house is a whole other thing. As a once and future skier, I have a lot of thermal socks laying around, and generally when leaving the house lately I wear one to two pairs under my thickest jeans. I have tank tops and then sweaters and then hand warmers and then thicker sweaters over everything. I tuck layers into my pants. Sometimes I wear tights under my pants and then I tuck other layers into those. Then I have — okay, my winter boots are three-inch heels, but they have great tread and are waterproof and warm as fuck. And a coat, obviously, and gloves and a scarf. Sometimes two scarves. I don’t wear hats though, hats are for people who can’t take the cold.

jk the real reason I don't wear hats is because I don't know how to make my hair do this afterwards

jk the real reason I don’t wear hats is because I don’t know how to make my hair do this afterwards

The great thing about having to put on and remove a ton of clothing every time I go out or come in is that it gives me a lot of time to think and dream and plan for the future and listen to podcasts (now accepting recommendations). The future feels pretty bright. It also feels pretty warm but that’s probably all the socks.

How are you staying warm this winter? What do you have to wear or do or avoid doing for as long as possible (here’s looking at you, grocery shopping like an adult)? If you have an activity partner, are you the furnace or the popsicle? Have you ever, relatively speaking, been one and then the other? Did it weird you out? I want to hear your feelings about where you are right now and where you want to go and what you want to do when you get there. How will you stay warm on the way?

Also how was your week and what are you up to tonight and this weekend and always? Let’s hang out.

How To Post A Photo In The Comments:

1. Find a photo! This is the easy part. Find a photo on the web, right click (on a Mac, control+click), hit “Copy Image URL” and then…

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Ryan Yates

Ryan Yates was the NSFW Editor (2013–2018) and Literary Editor for, with bylines in Nylon, Refinery29, The Toast, Bitch, The Daily Beast, Jezebel, and elsewhere. They live in Los Angeles and also on twitter and instagram.

Ryan has written 1142 articles for us.


    • I love fleece lined tights! Yesterday I was wearing a new pair and the whole day at work I was thinking, “These look and feel so much softer than they did when I tried them on.” Of course, when I got home I discovered that I was wearing them inside out.

    • I’m wearing fleece-lined tights right now! I just discovered a hole in them thought so I’ll have to fix that.

    • I am probably years too late for this but can someone explain what you are supposed to actually wear on top of leggings. I am genuinely unsure.

  1. This week I got creative in ways to keep warm. My landlord forgot to pay the bill for the heating so with the first real snow of the year I was in a house with out any heating or warm water. There were a lot of cups of tea consumed, I made a rice sock you can heat up in the microwave, I worked late (Yeah for climate control rooms :) ) and went to bed early.
    Luckily, the heating is back on so I will not freeze this weekend,or at least not inside my house :)

    • You just caused me to google what a rice sock was (actually, I googled “rick sock” first, which led to some confusion). And now I know, and that’s very helpful, so thank you!

    • Love the rice sock idea! I can’t believe I’ve never tried this before, since I love rice and microwaves and socks… so it must be good, right?

  2. I’m not gonna say the desert gets cold, cause it only gets like 40, but my water heater broke, and I’ve now prioritized hot showers as the most important luxury humans can ever have(sorry internet!)

    I boiled water with a tea kettle and makeshift sponge bathed that day and it was bad, it was real bad.

  3. cuddles are the best way to deal with the cold.

    also, I had GRS yesterday and am in the process of eating all the guacamole this hospital stocks… unlimited, on-demand, guacamole is the best way to recover from surgery.

        • That sounds pretty good for the first day post-operation :)
          Hope you soon feel well, good or even great!

        • Percocet and guacamole seem like the best way to handle a lot of situations ;)

          Glad you hear you aren’t doing terrible. Hang in there :)

    • Congrats on your surgery! I hope the recovery process goes as smoothly as possible. Also, unlimited on-demand guacamole is pretty much the best way to do anything, I applaud your hospital.

    • I just realized I read “hospital socks” too, and I was thinking cozy socks, Percocet, and guacamole, nice. Time to make coffee.

      Anyway, re: original comment: relax, relax, and hope everything goes super-well!

    • !!!! You reminded me about my beautiful hospital socks I got in like 2nd grade. I shall force them on my feet nonetheless.

  4. I’m normally pretty cold anyways, so when temperatures hit subzero in my town (which is often come wintertime) I wear layers like nuts. It can be quite a struggle though, my dorm, job, and classes all blast their heat so being in 5 layers of shirts can become pretty gross really fast. Electric blankets become my best friends too once the snow starts falling, and thermal socks are the freaking bomb.

    • I can never truly dress for the winter, because it’s still summer inside. My workplace is about 75F year round, so my winter wear is just leggings and a cardigan added to my summer outfits.

      • THIS. Philly feels like every building/bus is 80 degrees the second the faintest of breezes is felt outside. People here are also superfans of those insanely long bubble jackets that make you look like a mummy.This city isn’t even that cold, and they only get legit amounts of snow every 5-10years.

        I cannot understand this lifestyle due to being the asshole New Englander who would go outside in a jacket and shorts during a blizzard.

    • I’m normally cold too. All the rooms at my school are different temperatures. Some of them are always boiling and some of them are freezing even during the summertime. I’ve taken to carrying a blanket around with me as backup.

      • My high school was that way, it was awful! I thought I had escaped that once I graduated, but the school I work at now has classrooms that range from 60 to 75 degrees.. It’s a little insane seeing teachers still in their winter coats trying to teach!

    • YES to electric blankets! I love my electric throw blanket that I can wrap around me wherever I’m sitting.

      • Literally the only complaint I have about electric blankets is how drowsy they make me and how I never want to move once I’ve turned it on. But even then, they are my favorite thing for when it’s cold.

  5. Are snuggies still a thing? Or did people finally realize that they’re just fuzzy hospital gowns?

    (totally not hating on snuggies btw, I had 2 and loved those things like they were my own very tacky children)

  6. Chai tea, wood stove, heated seats, and most importantly I live in Virginia where it gets cold but it ain’t no Canada cold.

    • Reporting from Canada – at 48F /9C, feeling too warm in my winter coat :-P.

      And we wonder why Vancouver’s the most expensive city in Canada…

        • Ohmygoodness…I have to say I have literally no concept of how that feels. How is your blood not just red icicles???

          • I have no idea. It’s been much better this week but my parents disallowed me from wearing a blanket at the dinner table which was unfortunate.

  7. First, if you don’t mind me saying you have some fabulous hair! Well for to me to keep warm all I need is a plaid long sleeve shirt, and if the wind starts a jacket. At night a kind of think blanket and then a regular blanket I am set. The niceties of living in a part of SoCal where the coldest it gets is 45°f and that’s at like 3am.

    Monday morning a thief who is a regular in the area was attempting to steal stuff from our store, and I notice it. I got up to stop him and he dashed out the store. I dunno what went over me and I just started to chase him 2 city blocks. Pretty sure at some point I yelled, “this angry queer is going to take you down.” I didn’t catch him, but he did after 2 blocks just drop the merchandise. It was only $10 worth of stuff, but it’s the principle. My father(and most of the older people in the area) called me stupid for doing it because I could have been stabbed, but the younger people where like good job going after him. Other than that my week has been too quiet(literally the neighborhood is lacking customers).

    My sister mentioned that Sleater Kinney is having a record signing in L.A. and Tuesday and really thinking about going. I even have questions ready to ask the band. How was it being on the L Word? And who is your least favorite character? Really want to see how many of them say Jenny.

    I took these shots last Sunday in Malibu/Ventura county line. Fuji X-E1 and unedited like last week.

    Thank you for reading+viewing.

      • Depending on who you ask IQ wise it’s the same(with some giving a slight advantage to the X-A1). Feature wise the X-Pro1 mostly has the advantage. Unless you want the VF(which I do use a lot and like), a lens maybe the better upgrade, and wait until the X-Pro2 comes out later in the year. Or get an X-E1, which body only from what I’ve seen can be had for under $350 now. Ladies at the bank think I’m a brooding artist because sometimes I show up dress in all black with camera in tow. lol Thank you though.

        • Thanks for the tip, I will keep my eyes open for the X-pro2. People at work think I’m a little strange as I love to photograph the refinery across the river from me and I have pictures of it as my desktop and as the wall paper on my phones haha. I just love deconstructed architecture.

          • Well from the rumor I read it maybe late summer/fall time frame. I know what you mean, I once brought my camera out of my jacket pocket and a person went, “whoa that’s a actual camera, who still uses them?” Uh, I prefer them, and in fact have a cute bowling bag looking purse I use to carry my camera, body mist, lipstick, & and gum now when I go out at night.

    • I dunno why the last picture didn’t show up, but here it is. If mods that please fix that last image and delete this would, that would be optimal.

    • YOU CHASED AFTER A BURGLAR FOR 2 BLOCKS!? That is the best thing I’ve heard this week. “This angry queer is going to take you down” made me laugh so hard. You’re my super hero, Al. Have an excellent weekend.

      Also lovely photos!!

      • Eeep thank you! To be fair I was in running shoes(flat feet). Not sure what I would have done if I caught the thief. Maybe would have said I am not a dude, don’t gender me. lol

  8. Call me weird but I like the cold, I embrace the cold. Like when my furnace broke this past weekend and my house hit 11 degrees C I was in shorts a t-shirt and a toque. The only time I really layer up is when I decide to go hiking in -26 weather.

    I have been waiting for Open Thread Friday all morning. I haven’t wanted to work and it is hard to get motivated to design liquor and grocery stores when you just want to sleep or read a book.

  9. I mostly just curl up under blankets at home. I still love with my folks and they’re very strict about the thermostat, so I shiver and blow on the perpetually-cold fingers I inherited from my mother.

    At roller derby scrimmage, since I’m not on skates, I go three pairs of socks under hiking boots, two pairs of pajama pants under jeans, a shirt under two sweatshirts under a winter jacket, a Hufflepuff scarf, and a Patriots beanie because I have a million of them. And then fingerless gloves because stopwatches and pencils don’t go with mittens sadly.

    • I have perpetually cold fingers too, and I always have for as long as I can remember.
      Speaking of fingerless gloves and cold fingers, have you tried the fingerless gloves with the fold-down mitten flaps? Those are my favorite!

  10. The past two weeks have alternated between -20F and 20F, which I should expect from living in Vermont, but I still don’t deal with it well. I have started wearing fleece leggings under all of my clothes and I bought a fleece hooded wrap thing that has helped keep me warm. I also keep afghan on my chair at work. The blanket has actually been wrapped around me all summer (I don’t like the cold). Since this is the first winter I’ve been in my own place and paid for fuel, I’ve realized exactly how expensive it is to be warm. Fleece is cheaper than fuel.

    I’m excited for that I have Monday off because I get to spend some quality time with my girlfriend, which has been difficult lately because of our work schedules. Being an adult is really hard.

    • You should invest in the god of mom hacks, the beloved hot water bottle. I used to stay over a friend’s house in CT between semesters, and the basement was not heated. His mom’s hot water bottles saved my life and kept me super toasty when I slept. Just put that sucker at the end of your bed between your blankets and sheets.

  11. I bought one of these this week, it came in the mail yesterday:

    it’s super long, though, which makes it hard to shuffle from the couch to the kitchen for more tea.

    And I just described my week. On the upside I’m going for a run today so that I can remember what outside feels like.

    • I have wanted one of these forever! I am getting one this year…its a resolution!!! How did you find the sizing?

  12. I go into my greenhouse that I just built that is cozy and warm, and look at my orchids. Orchids are amazingly beautiful and there are thousands of different varieties. Their beauty makes me warm inside.

    • What a great idea :)
      This reminds me of when I had baby cows for pets and I would hang out with them in the barn to keep warm. Nature is the best warmth.

      • So pretty! What species are you growing?
        Orchids are so cool, they’re sneaky little things. A lot of them don’t actually produce nectar but trick insects in thinking that they do so that they still get visited by pollinators. Some even look like female bees so that male bees try to mate with the flower and in this way transfer pollen. AWESOME!

        • Hi! The first is a dendrobium, the second one is an oncidium, the third is a cymbidium, and the last one is a vanda. All are classified as pretty easy to grow. Everyone can grow these….. guarantee!

      • That’s it. My dream is to have a greenhouse now.

        Dude I am SO on board with flowers in general. Thank you so much for sharing these gorgeous photos!! Must be lovely to own these beauties. :D Also, you built the greenhouse yourself?? Amazing. Have a fantastic weekend!!

      • So gorgeous! Cymbidiums always remind me of my mum–she always had pots of them outside our house when I was young. the only plant she didn’t kill!

  13. I don’t have to pay for heat in my building, which means it’s pretty toasty most of the time. It’s not that cold here, right now it’s 8°c. That said, I like layering up, drinking hot beverages, and snuggling with my cat.

    • Layers, drinks, and snuggles together make for a great time. c: That’s awesome you don’t have to pay for your heating.

  14. Unrelated: Did y’all see that thing on tv last night called the World Dog Awards? It was hilarious. The awards were golden fire hydrants and none of the dogs were cooperating with what they were supposed to do onstage. Also they had a lot of different breeds and ages of dogs, and there were even disabled dogs, so it was way more diverse than the oscars. I only watched the first 30 minutes because it was making my dog crazy, she kept growling and jumping at the tv and I so wish I’d gotten a video of it because it was ridiculous. But then I felt bad for torturing her and watched Gilmore Girls instead. She feels a lot less threatened by Dog Paul Anka, for some reason.

  15. Today it’s 30f in chicago, so i’m feeling good! Usually though I’m wearing two pairs of pants or tights, wool socks, two sweaters, two scarves… the whole deal. This winter I’ve even broken my own no-hat rule. It all seems a bit better now that I bought myself the coat of my dreams… navy wool, hits mid-thigh, those weird loop button things, green plaid-lined hood. I’m in love.

    I’ve never lived with an activity partner before this winter, and oh god, the effectiveness of cuddling is unprecedented.

    Podcasts… does anyone want to talk about Dear Sugar? Or Tig Notato + and her finance on Professor Blastoff?

    • I will talk about Dear Sugar with you but warning I have only downloaded and have not yet listened to it. What did you think??

      • So you listened to the first episode, I presume? I loved the first one and listened to it at least half a dozen times since it came out. Honestly I was disappointed by the newest episode. It was really short, about 15 minutes, and didn’t have the personality of the first one, or of Dear Sugar in column form. I’m guessing they are just finding their footing though.

        • I agree re:Dear Sugar. Honestly I don’t care about that other dude, I just want Cheryl Strayed to talk to me.

          I did just start Invisibilia though, and that was pretty enjoyable.

    • also I went and listened to tig’s podcast after reading this while I was storming & norming in the kitchen…..tig is very dry generally, and I actually just watched ‘in a world’, which I enjoyed, and it was sort of sweet to hear about how they met, but also I was kinda like “yeah, yeah, you fell in love, and it’s like you invented love in a way that it’s never been created before, that’s great” mostly because I am an old codger in a fairly long term relationship (>4 years, getting hitched next fall). so like, I felt like good for them, but also tig is not my favorite gayladycomedian (cameron esposito is more my speed) and while I love to hear people stoked about their partners, it gets boring to hear about how the greatest love of all is happening to them. is my opinion.

      • I get all of that… i’m not really a comedian person in general, but i’m super into that particular podcast and they had been hinting at her girlfriend for years and now they’re finally out about so yeah, i’m more invested in it. i’ve meaning to see in a world for a while.

        • i just saw In A World, thought it was cool and interesting. Thanks for the podcast reviews in this thread.

        • i checked out the Professor Blastoff podcast you mentioned with Tig and Stephanie and couldn’t get into it either. i’m a big fan of Tig’s stand-up though; i have tix to her show coming up so i’m excited for that.

  16. So I live in the north of Spain and it’s not exactly super cold here… but it does get chilly at night and my flat doesn’t have central heating. It’s unpleasant. I’ve been wearing extra layers and extra socks at home and drinking even more hot tea than I usually do. (I drink a lot of tea under normal circumstances.)

    In unrelated news, did anyone else see last Sunday’s episode of Last Tango in Halifax? I’m really angry about it and have been having fleeting (or not-so-fleeting) moments of rage/disappointment all week.

    • I’m jealous that you live in Spain. I feel about Spain as that lady felt about Italy in Eat, Pray, Love.

    • Yes also rage! Stupid and bloody typical :( P.S. We only have one hospital in Hgate and it’s just called the hospital…so I’m probably feeling how New Yorkers or Los Angeleans feel when their city is misrepresented in tv and film.

  17. I’m home sick, so I guess I didn’t stay warm well enough to dispense advice on the subject.

    It did give me a chance to finish Transparent, which omg can we talk about representations of female masculinity!! And Gaby Hofmann with short hair and a suit! And also how Maura’s character is dealing with her transition but also has/had a life outside of her transition which I found really great, like in the last episode when she asks Gaby if she’d still love him had she not thrown money at her. Her and her ex-wife’s relationship with the kids is so heartbreaking and relatable, but also so are her gender struggles because some days I can’t even with gender. And also she deals with everything with such grace; people misgender her, her kids mistreat her, she’s ignored or laughed at or not taken seriously, even threatened; and she hardly ever gets angry or takes it out on the other person. She just seems to accept other people at face value, even if they’re shitty towards her. I found everything about the show (except for the “token transman”) inspirational.

    Those are all my feelings while being sick in bed. It’s also a particularly emotional time of month, so yeah.

  18. I’m usually freezing but decided to invest in a Hemphoodlamb long coat this Winter, and it’s been the best investment ever. I do hope that coat lasts ten years at least.
    I also own a pair of Doc Martens with a fur lining that are one size too big for me, so I can wear double socks, one of them woolen ski socks if winter really decides to hit after all.
    Since it hasn’t so far, and wintertime is really hard on me depressionwise due to lack of daylight and exercise,I’ve decided this week to get back on the bike and have spent the past two days googling my way through the appropiate just above freezing gear.
    If I’d own a car it’d probably be due for a new set of tires, also calculating the cost for gas and insurance I’m obviously not paying, or therapy I’m not having leaves me quite the financial margin for overinvesting in overpriced (and very sexy) cycling gear and fancy thermal underwear.
    At least that’s what I’m trying to tell myself.
    Also, tax returns.
    Damn, IS there a reason to invest over 200 bucks into a cycling jacket?
    I mean other than pretending you’re Batgirl in a Kevlar vest?

  19. I was born and raised in sunny, warm California and have to leave in a week to go back to school in NOT sunny, NOT warm Massachusetts. It hadn’t really snowed when I left for break so this will be my first time experiencing a Northeast winter. And I am not excited. I don’t know how to dress for this weather! I’ve barely learned how to layer! So send me warm thoughts (and maybe a space heater) :)

    • Layers work like this: tank top, thin long sleeve shirt, t/shirt or collared shirt, cardigan, scarf. Match according to style.

  20. I would like to start by showing off this shirt, which was designated for the donate bin because it was too girly, along with the necklace. But I have repurposed both for baus-like mastery of the baus-like lifestyle.

    I stay warm by wearing layers, just like you Carolyn, except I do wear a hat, after covering my face and shaved bits of head with coconut/peppermint/Shea butter paste. I also just bought a memory foam topper for my mattress, which retains heat for my body, new toys from, to make heat for my body, and a book on mindfulness, to disperse heat through my body. So the baus-like mastery goes.

    It’s so great to read about your lives this week, guys, I love being your creeper.

    In my own news… This week, I felt happy. It was weird because I didn’t recognize the emotion. I got my three month chip a week ago, and last night I gave it away to someone who is struggling, because she is coming out while in recovery. My chip said “you are no longer alone.”. I gave it to her so she would know, and because I don’t feel that I need it. I know that I am no longer alone. :)

      • It’s a wonderful shirt. I did a ton of clothing repurposing this week. I think whenever I’m stressed I find a (slightly unnecessary) sewing project or two to keep me occupied.

    • Happiness is the best! Hopefully it will become more and more familiar to you. Congratulations on your 3 months, that is fantastic and impressive.

    • Not only an awesome shirt, but an excellent outfit overall. You look really good– also love the hair and frames.

      And even better that you are happy. And thank you for sharing that story– that was a really special and thoughtful thing to do.

    • 1. SO GLAD you’ve been feeling happy!
      2. Teared up about your chip giving
      3. DAAAAAAAMN congratulations on your shirt and face and hair and general self A++++++++++

  21. Fleece tights under skinny jeans or trousers feels like wearing a full body girdle, but whatever.

    At home, knee-high cashmere socks over tights and fires and electric blankets are my jam. I’m the furnace.

    Out and about, it’s the above-mentioned New England girdle mixed with classic SF layering. I got an extra-long packable down coat from Uniqlo to layer under my pretty coats, but I’m guilty of wearing it out on its own since I got it (and yes, I’m ashamed).

    • Wearing two coats had not ever occurred to me before but that is the smartest. I definitely have a pretty coat that is not as functional as it could be, this seems like a great solution.

  22. This is the comment thread I have been waiting for! Staying warm consumes so much of my time. I live in Western NY (why yes, we did get 5 feet of snow in November…) and in just a couple of weeks I’m moving to a place that is even colder and snowier: Northern Minnesota. I’m excited because I have a new job and I like the snow. I stay warm by doing the following:

    1. wearing wool sweaters
    2. hats hats hats
    3. ski socks
    4. wearing under armor tights under all my clothes
    5. baking lots of bread and pies and lovely warm things

    My roommate and I walked to Aldi’s earlier this week and we both agreed that it was “a bit cold.” Turns out it was 4 degrees F. I’m glad to know that my heavy duty outdoor gear keeps me safe and toasty. In my Minnesotan future I hope to keep warm by snuggling a puppy. I aspire to greatness.
    Stay warm out there!

    • Er…. Same-sex marriage. Shouldn’t read the NYT website and type at the same time. Still!!

  23. I have always been one of those people who turns the heat down to 58F, then cackles with thrifty glee when the electric bill comes. My current apartment includes heat, but old habits die hard so still I don’t really use it until it gets below freezing. I am also the furnace in every relationship and I love cold weather more than anything, so I’m sure that also contributes.

  24. I think this article is great and this research is really necessary and good. And h/t to Aya for some fantastic comments above.

    However, I am a little frustrated that asexual people are systematically left out of studies, especially ones like this. I understand that we’re a small group and unless you’re conducting internet surveys, it might be hard to get enough data to be statistically significant, but sexuality researchers, do better.

    • AHHH NO this is not the place I wished to comment this, this is relevant to a different thing. Good lord, guess I am really tired. Afternoon nap in front of fire to keep warm sounds like an even better idea than it did 5 minutes ago.

      • Well it may not be relevant to this thread, but I agree with you about asexual representation and also what does ‘h/t’ mean?

  25. I lived with a roomie from Calgary, in Alberta Canada. I learned that in order to get a snow day in Calgary, it must be around -20 degrees Celcius, because that’s the temp that the school buses can’t run anymore because the diesel fuel starts to freeze.

    I work in a lab and we store our enzymes and reagents at -20 C. It blows my mind to imagine the outdoors being that temp. I hope I never live someplace where it gets that cold.

    • Super cool that you work in a lab. :D I hope to do something similar in the future.

      anyways, yes, flannel-lined jeans sounds amazing.

      • Thanks Dante, and I hope you share the story of your lab quest here on AS. All the STEM queers, unite!

  26. First is excited sharing time: My play was last night!!! It was amazing!! I’m so happy! It went so well, and I love everyone involved, and we had a full house filled with my friends. Love love love! My heart is warm.

    How I stay warm? I snuggle under the covers with my dog. When I’m not at home/have to be a productive adult, I wear layers. NYC kind of sucks when it’s cold because you have to walk everywhere… and my jacket zipper is broken, and I can’t get it fixed because I have to leave it overnight, and I can’t go without a coat.

    Yay life!

    • Congratulations on your play opening! That’s exciting. Is it the one you were working on for your thesis? (Or maybe my brain just made that up, because I was definitely so tired I forgot the world misogyny for a solid five minutes so at this point basically anything goes.)

      • Thank you! And nope, this is my non-musical “straight” play. Thanks for remembering my thesis musical, though. :)

    • CONGRATULATIONS ON THE PLAY!!! I hope everyone enjoyed your work! That is a seriously huge accomplishment. May you have many more plays in the future. ;)

  27. I totally feel you on the hat vs. curly hair dilemma!!

    I look cute before the beanie goes on. I look kinda cute with the beanie one. But then the beanie comes off and the cute is gone, and I just don’t know how to comport myself after that..

  28. Also, my Indiana friends keep offering me warm articles of clothing for my move to Alaska, and I’m just like, “Y’all realize it’s generally warmer in southeast Alaska than in Indiana during the winter, right?”

    • coldest i’ve ever been was in an indiana winter. it totally defeated all my wooly layers and i was only outside for like 15 minutes.

  29. Carolyn, your hair is amazing. Just wanted to put that out there. I feel ya on the hat issue.

    I never really comment here (as in on Friday threads) but always silently lurk. Y’all are cool.

    But today (and this week) I am quite sad. And feeling completely alone. And in desperate need of a queer community. I devour AS articles as if they were my only access to like-minded people. I’m mostly surrounded by people who just don’t “get me.” For instance when I hang out with my friends (str8 girls and a few gay guys) all they talk about is men. Who they find hot, who they want to date, who they want to fuck, who’s unattractive, who’s cut, who’s uncut, and on and on. So many levels I can’t (and don’t want to) relate to and there’s only so long I can pretend to be interested.

    I friend-broke-up with my (only queer) best friend last week and without her I just feel lost.

    Anyway. Feelings.

    I keep warm by remembering that there are more people out there and more possibilities for love on the horizon. And electric heating pads.

    • Oh man. Feeling alone sucks, but here’s some happy(?) news – it’s not just an all in your head thing, it’s your brain chemistry, too! Studied have shown that friend break ups are more emotionally damaging than relationship break ups. I’m not saying this to crap on you, I’m saying that you’re utterly not alone, I have been there and so have so many of us. It’s really hard. I’m sooo glad you joined in! :))

      • Lolau, that’s actually very interesting & validating, thank you for passing the info along. I feel like friend-break-ups should be seen as legitimate as a realtionship-break-up ya know? Thanks again!

    • I am sorry to hear that you’re feeling alone. Friend break-ups suck!
      Remember you’re not alone, and that there is this amazing community to support you.
      Let me know if you want to talk!

    • Thank you! [blush]

      Also hi welcome you are not alone and I’m really glad you’re here. Here is a gif of a small dog to hopefully make things suck less:

    • Rones I am terribly sorry to hear about your situation. You absolutely deserve some friends you can connect with!
      Also, friend break-ups are the worst. But they’re often necessary, and I’m sure the end result is much more favorable than if you were still with her. Still, it’s hard, I completely understand. The most important thing to do right now is to take care of yourself!<3 Sleep well, eat your favorite foods, watch your favorite shows…be your best company. You are awesome, and us straddlers will always be here to support you~

      • You’re absolutely right, as with most relationships, the friendship needed to end (though I didn’t really see that until it actually ended). I love the AS community so hard. Thanks for the reply <3

    • Oh goodness I totally feel you on the feeling alone thing. I had to friend-break up with my tiny group of queer friends a year or so ago because they were becoming super bad for my mental health. It has definitely sucked more than any romantic breakup I’ve ever had. Since then, I’ve yet to find any new queer friends so I’m all on my own gay self with three super straight roommates. AS has absolutely been my savior, especially since this is basically the only place I could flip out about how cute I think Emma Watson is and I won’t get the awkward silence or uncomfortable chuckle. We’ll be here for you while you keep looking for your queer community :)

      • Sorry to hear about your own friend-break ups :( They’re so painful. It’s really a huge help to know the AS community is around and so supportive. Sending you hugs, Kayla!

  30. For unknown reasons (not eating lunch and not effectively using the layer system) I am always cold. I think freezing to death is the way I’m going to die. Untill then I carry around a combination of blankets, tea cups and use the transportation system of London wisely.

    • I cannot in good conscience give a thumbs up to death-by-not-layering. Go put a t-shirt over whatever you are wearing, and then add a sweater to that!

    • Are these thick leggings that are patterned like a sweater because I have those on right now
      (oh wait no they’re tights but maybe they’re similar?)

  31. How do I keep warm? Well, let me put it like this…my answer to the question “What would you grab in a fire?” changes depending on the season. In the winter, my answer is all the blankets off my bed (there are no less than 3 at any given time, with one being electric). Blankets are one of my favorite things. I did laundry today, and ended up doing a faceplant into the basket full of clean, warm blankets for about 5 minutes.

    I think my love of blankets developed when I was in college in Green Bay. I’d never experienced winters like that, so I responded by spending all of my free time in blankets. I still spend all my free time in blankets, actually. I see nothing wrong with this.

    • In a book of “useless” inventions I once saw a blanket with sleeves built in! So perfect- more voluminous than a robe and convenienter than a blankie.

  32. Outerwear designed by people who live about 20 degrees north of me (yay for Canadian fashion!). Also, wool sweaters, a cashmere pashmina, wool socks, and long underwear.

    It was, however, so cold one day this week a very furry dog made me stop and hold his paws in my mittens every minute or so. Dog shoes now repaired (bad human procrastination!), and it’s 20 degrees warmer.

    • Aww, poor doggie! Yeah, I think the weather has an attitude problem or something. As soon as you get fully prepared for it, it changes drastically.

  33. It’s a constant struggle between wanting to be warm in my own house without having to put on 5 sweaters, 2 pairs of socks, and leggings under my pants, versus not wanting to pay a utility bill for $10000000. The house I live in was built in the 50s, and the heating system hasn’t been updated since then. So…the kitchen and living room have no source of heat. My roommates both have to use space heaters. But lucky for me, I have my own wall furnace in my room! So if I stay in there I’m fine. If I have to leave the house, I put on lots of layers. (Side note: I live in the South, so “cold” to me means anything below 50 degrees. I know. I’m a baby about the cold.)

    • Yeah, my parent’s house was built in 1904 and it’s the worst to try and heat because it lacks insulation. My fingers are ice blocks right now. I mostly go around in a shroud of blankets, but that can be problematic when one has my propensity for unfortunate accidents.

    • my partner hates me because i’m not happy until the heat is set to 75. i’m also a “well, my skin isn’t beat red so this shower isn’t hot enough” person, but thankfully we don’t pay for water.

  34. Hey Baés! My week has been…a week. I may have to boot one of my students out of my class if his behavior doesn’t improve and that makes me sad. Luckily, don’t have to worry about it until Wednesday, so that’s ok. Tonight, I’m spending the evening with Harry Potter and a glass(bottle?) of wine. Probably also gonna take a long hot bath because I spent the day deep cleaning my room and I am TIRED. Sunday I get to hop on a party bus for my good friend’s bday celebrations, so that should be a time.

    As for staying warm? I live in Miami. So, I just walk out a door for a while. Or if it’s Miami cold (anything below 70), that means I get to wear one of my hoodies outside and it’s actually exciting because I have so many because I am always cold in school/work. Also, my bedroom is both the hottest in the summer and coldest in the winter (fun!!), so to keep warm for sleepytimes, I pile on the blankets because wearing clothes in bed is something I only do when I’m in unfamiliar sheets unaccompanied by another person. I offer more of our extra sunshine and warmth to all of you.

    • Sorry about the problematic student…in the meantime, I hope you enjoy your weekend to the fullest! (yay, 3-days!) Sounds like you have a lot of exciting plans! A long bath is also on my to-do list today. c:

  35. I was the popsicle, letting my wife warm me up, but now it is sometimes switched, which is strange. Maybe it’s the thyroid meds I’ve started taking to see if they would help me get pregnant- they haven’t or not enough or something, grumble grumble. But I’m still taking them for a bit as we figure out our next steps.

    I believe in long underwear and layers! They make such a difference. I’m still working to convince my wife of their wonders.

    My week was literally crappy- it happens while taking care of little ones. But now it’s the weekend and the house projects are mostly finished so I can do try to do the little things that have been piling up.

  36. I didn’t need to do as much keeping warm this week as last week, since the temperatures, while still below freezing, were at least a tad more reasonable. Just two layers of every clothing piece, five blankets on the bed, an extra sweater to wear under my coat when I go outside, never taking off my hat, and spending all/most of my time hugging my radiator. The usual.

    It’s been kind of a hard week. My uncle got readmitted to the hospital on New Year’s and on Tuesday we found out he’d passed away. So there’s been emotions. I never once went to visit him in the hospital. Other members of my family did, people even flew in to do that, but hospitals give me major anxiety so I always found a way not to. The last time I saw him was thanksgiving and he was older than my grandfather and he never used to be. And I feel guilty about not visiting, and I feel guilty about my cousin’s suffering, and I feel guilty for the moments I’m happy, and guilty for feeling guilty. Because this week felt empty but it also felt alive at some moments. I had the house to myself on Tuesday and I listened to Janelle Monae and told myself I am a queen. Rehearsal is difficult and exhausting but I’m actually talking to people which is good for me, and they’re great people. They make me laugh and I make them laugh and I would much rather laugh than be sad. And I worry about my cousins. I have always been close to them and now I feel so helpless. They’re just kids, really. And I can’t do anything. I know I would not be able to handle the power of being able to fix everything but I still always end up wanting to. It’s not even because I want to be a savior, I just can’t bear to see other people suffering, and I feel so worthless when I don’t know how to help them. And then it gets to the point where I spend so much energy on being emotionally about other people’s problems that I just emotionally shut down for a bit, and then it repeats itself.

    So that’s been going on. For most of my life, really.

    I started a lot of sewing/art projects and didn’t finish them because that’s what I always do when I’m stressed. I did do elbow patches on my cashmere sweater, though, which turned out nicely. It’s cozy and makes me feel slightly better in the absence of having someone to cuddle and hug. I wish all of you as many cuddles and hugs as you need because they are marvelous things.


      I hope these help with your guilt situation. You may be using guilt as an escape, because I want to say sorry for your loss, but you don’t seem to be allowing yourself to experience one, so I instead I will say I empathize with your gain – the burden you are putting on yourself. In similar situations, I have found it useful to allow myself to deficit emotionally. Envision the flat ground. When you add a burden, make a hill, it will eventually even out, but there is still a hole under you that you need to visit eventually – packing it with loose earth doesn’t do much to keep it full. You’re going to get to grieve eventually. Better sooner than later. Ground always evens itself out. Better to rise from the depths than sink from the top.

  37. Hey all!!!! Wow its Friday. Next week I will be with the wife and those thoughts will sustain me all throughout work frm Saturday to Tuesday. 4 days!!! 12 hour shifts.

    Where Im heading (bohol philippines) will be pretty much hot to me. Lol. When I head up to Baguio it will be arou d 10deg yeah thats pretty cold in the mountains.

    As of right now in SoCal…I will never know what layers will mean. I just hiked 5 miles in a tanktop and I wanted to be in shorts. Living here has taught my body that anything above 70 is for shorts and anything below 60 is pretty much freezing.

    Happy to report that Jessy Meowington and Andy McFlufferson are getting along FINALLY. after much hissing obvs. Jessy has turned into the Dear Kitten voice on youtube. Andy remains to be curious and clingy to my wife.

    Also my comp is on the fritz again. Such sad. I think its just about time to pull the plug.

    This is how nice LA looked today. You can see the smog. Yuck.

    Jessy not loving/loving the bowtie

    My Staten Island Ferry and Sundial bridge metal earth.

    Andy McFlufferson watching Lord of the Rings. They sure are attentive.

  38. You guys! I have most of my post written but I have some stuff I have to get done before I post it so I AM PARTICIPATING TONIGHT HAHAHA

    And I keep the cold at bay by warming my hands over the burning corpses of my enemies

  39. Uniqlo heat tech tops. They are the best and so thin. I also layer a Uniqlo ski jacket under a real coat. I can’t stand wearing tights under skinny jeans, so I just wear knee socks and pray for the best.
    Today I saw a guy skateboarding in the street with a bouquet of flowers in each hand. It was such a cute, random thing. And I was googling “can you…” and one of the options that came up was “can you put neosporin on a dog” and for some reason I found that hilarious. I still don’t know the answer.
    My photographs are gonna be shown in a real exhibit at my school! So excited. Sometimes I feel like I can deal with this thing called life. And when I can’t, I can run crying to the Friday comment thread. Right?

    • I have totally put neosporin-type ointments on dogs but one must wrap the area to keep it on long enough for it to be effective. You need the non-stretchy tape, and the stuff that says it won’t stick to fur? It will.

      Conversely, some vets swear by animax (roughly dog/cat version) and put it on their children.

  40. As a Minnesotan, I have to say… layers layers layers. Flannel sheets are divine. Also, Cuddleduds anyone?

  41. It’s been super cold up here in Ottawa lately. I mostly just bundle up like crazy in multiple layers and drink a lot of hot beverages. We have both a Tim Hortons and a Starbucks at the college where I work, and whenever the office gets chilly I go get a coffee. I may not sleep all winter.
    I also got some really cute Dr. Martens for Christmas that I’m very excited about, so that’s making the whole bundling up for winter thing way more fun.

    I’m so sad. It turns out that A camp is the same weekend as my black belt test. I have never been to an A camp and I really really wanted to go. My hopes were way up about it and I can’t believe I have to miss it. I guess there’s always next year. :(

  42. I’m one of those bundle-in-80-layers people.
    Down is the best. I wear my down vests all the time. It is one of the best ways to stay warm, IMO. As long as it doesn’t get wet (in which case, it’s useless). Wool, on the other hand, keeps you semi-warm even when damp. So I always wear a base layer of wool on my rain hikes. I have a beautiful thick knitted Norwegian ski sweater which is my all-time favorite clothing item. And hats. I basically live in hats, even in the summer. Hats just feel like a sort of safety blanket to me. The other day, I posted a picture of myself on FB wearing a wool hat on top of a fleece hat, topped with a jacket hood, before I realized that it wasn’t common practice to bundle in multiple layers of hats.

    Also, hot beverages. Also, cuddling with my cat.

    Anyway, this week has been productive I guess. I gave myself a haircut. I got new shoes, which I desperately needed. I made some mental-health-related progress on some stuff.

    Guess what I saw this week? A pod of orcas! 4 of them! They took me completely by surprise – I was walking along the beach and I heard the sound of water spraying from their spouts, and then I looked over and saw their dorsal fins, rising up and down as they swam. I watched for a good 5 minutes as they swam by. Such magnificent creatures. Unfortunately, the zoom function on my camera is broken, so I couldn’t get a good photo. But you can kinda see 2 of them here.

    Also, these seagulls at low-tide sunset are the happiest birds you’ll ever see:

    • I have realized (as on Facebook) that I like any post with a cat in it. It’s like a reflex. And your cat is cute and has a sleepy face, and now I miss my cat.


      Lovely pictures, once again. The orcas come through very well, actually.

      Thumbs-up on mental health progress.

      • Thank you! (For the encouraging words and compliments on the photos). I’m disappointed you can only see two orcas in the photo; the other two must be under the water. But seeing them live was the coolest part, even if my photos didn’t turn out as well as I would’ve liked. Definitely a highlight of my week.

        Yeah, I can relate to the cat-photo reflex. :)

    • The pictures are beautiful, of course! Glad to hear you had a useful week. I’m always so impressed at people who cut their own hair!!

      • Thank you! :D
        As for the hair, I make no claims of being GOOD at cutting my hair. I just kind of go for it and even it out until it looks decent. And if it doesn’t turn out perfectly, it’ll grow out soon anyway. Hats are good for staying warm in winter AND hiding slightly-uneven haircuts. :p

  43. It doesn’t technically get cold here, unless you’re actually from here, in which case, heck yeah, it’s freezing. It really was cold enough this past week to require opening cabinet doors, run faucets, etc. Oddly, I’m sort of okay when I’m out and about, mostly because I’m moving and have my beloved heavy, long winter coat (scarf, gloves, hat). It’s when I come home and get still-ish that I start getting chilly; I keep my heat pretty low, and this is an old building. I start accumulating layers the longer I sit: one sweatshirt, another sweatshirt, more pants, and yes, beanies indoors. My bathrobe (which my mother offers to replace every few months) often makes an appearance. A neighbor came to the door a few days ago and said, “What the HELL are you wearing?” I told him that even his dog was wearing a sweater, so I didn’t see his point.

    Oh. Coffee. I drink a lot of that. When possible, I lurk in our local coffeehouse.

    I also crochet like crazy and have an insane number of throws. This isn’t the warmest one, and it’s very simple, but I like it. It’s also the most recently completed (and yes, that’s a hotel room. Long story).

    But this is pretty much how I feel:

      • Cool! My mother knits, and I crochet, so I get all the goodies! It works out well. For me, at least! I love that your mother made it– mine thinks this one is a “rainbow blanket” and keeps asking why I left one color out (ROYGBIV).

    • Ooh, pretty throw-blanket!
      There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wearing a beanie indoors; I’m wearing a fleece beanie right now, in fact!
      Yes to the coffee. Always coffee.

  44. Being really sick and getting gross night sweats is apparently how I stay warm. Less disgustingly, lots and lots of tea. That definitely does the job.

    On a slightly depressing note (sorry!), I learned today that I am not being hired for the job I hoped I might be, and I also started paying my student loans. Woohoo I am poor and unemployed and sick and everything is awful.

    Also, Carolyn, your hair is AMAZING. If my hair was a little shorter, I could PROBABLY get it to do that, so I am full of ideas now…

    • Update: Still very sick. This is the sickest I have been for a really long time. I do not like feeling this helpless. I guess this is a good time to be at my parents’ house though. There’s nothing quite as nostalgic or comforting as having your mom take care of you. :)

  45. Today it was incredibly hot where I live in Australia (like, borderline heatwave). I spent the day working in the library in air-con. Sending Brisbane warmth your way, cold Straddlers!

    • Feeling exactly the same – Sydney was awful the last couple of days, though it’s a lot cooler today for some reason? I expect Brisbane’s even hotter, so I don’t envy you there.

  46. I stay warm by living in where it’s hot as balls. I can’t remember what it felt like to be cold. It’s my dream to live somewhere cold enough to legitimately wear a beanie.

  47. I think the correct thing to do with leggings is put them under your jeans. It sometimes looks like my jeans are a size too small, but what can you do. And if you don’t shave your legs, it can get super itchy once you’re inside and warming up a bit. But this method of layering is still what saves me when I walk to work.

    I’m dreaming of fluffy-lined boots and a warmer coat at the minute but wearing all of my clothes at once is a good alternative.

    • I do long-johns under jeans and yes it looks funny but damnit I’m warm! Also it contributes to my jeans riding way too low…weird. Lambswool insoles turn non fluffy boots into fluffy boots :)

  48. Mother-effin’ lambswool insoles folks. In every shoe I own. I don’t care if I sound like a grandma my feet are warm! It’s been chilly in North Yorkshire this week. So cold in fact that I didn’t warm up to type this ’til Saturday afternoon. No joke. I’ve been Hat – Two shirts all week. Layering a plaid flannel over a denim/cotton shirt over a Henley over a tee. Plus my principle 6 hat, my rugby socks under my jeans and docs or desert boots (with lambswool insoles). Then a duffle coat and sheepskin mittens. I chipped a thick layer of frozen snow off my van this morning…I was toasty.
    In my un-central-heated house I live under blankets, layered up in hoodies and using the dog and or my missus as a hot water bottle, depending who is home.
    Stay cosy folks.

  49. Ah shoot, was too busy to comment yesterday!

    Anyways, I ride my bike to school when I’m at my dad’s house…which means I am faced with the coldest times of the day. (for California that is, haha. I couldn’t handle a real winter.) So usually I put on a sweater underneath my button up, and then a warm coat over that. Scarves are essential, or else my face freezes. I wear a wool one on the coldest mornings. I also have to wear my snow gloves to protect my manos. As for my bottom half, I simply make sure I got long pants on and I’m good to go. Usually my legs don’t get cold so easily. :D

    So this week was yet another hectic week. Long story short, my friend and I informed another friend about how someone in our group was acting inappropriate toward all his close friends, and how she was the primary target of his objectification. And how the guy was playing victim and trying to guilt us into doing “stuff”. And how he asked me not to tell her. It was heartbreaking for this friend, because she really saw him as a brother…but she appreciated us informing her, nonetheless. Needless to say, after a phone call, he doesn’t dare to be around us anymore. Which is good. Ugh, it’s always someone you know…isn’t it?

    Other than that I am managing well. c: And I hope all of you guys stay warm and comfortable and around good company~ Happy mid-January!

    • Scarves are the best. My favorite one that I own is a galaxy print infinity scarf (because galaxy print looks stylish with everything) :D
      Sounds like a rough week, but you did the right thing. I’m sure your friend appreciates you telling her, even if it’s hard for her.

    • Ugh, blargh! that situation sounds horribly awkward; good on you for getting rid of that creepy dude. Not easy, sometimes.

  50. Tea and thick socks and blankets on blankets on blankets. Mostly the Pendleton blanket I got for Christmas a few years ago because it’s good for making blanket cocoons. And old man /giant sweaters for layering. I frequently wear socks because while I run warm I get cold feet a lot.

  51. In Michigan, you don’t really “stay warm”, as much as freeze till you become numb. Once you’ve hit the point where you can’t feel your body, you are free to take part in the activity of your choice, like going to IKEA to pick up girls.

  52. In Grand Rapids it was so cold two weeks ago. The daily highs were single digits, and nightly lows were 10 below without windchill. I just moved to a new house, and the upstairs room, which is my home office, was maybe 58 degrees Fahrenheit when the house thermostat was set to 72. That doesn’t sound that bad, but my fingers were getting frozen while I was typing.

    So I had to unpack my infrared space heater. It provides enough extra heat just in my office so it is comfortable, and I don’t have to crank the house thermostat.

    For outdoor activity, sports socks with sweat wicking fabric, wool socks on top, my moon boots over those ( they’re good to negative 30). Then silk long underwear bottoms or leggings, followed by skinny jeans. For the chest, a long sleeve tee or sports wicking shirt, button down, then sweater. Most of my coats are boiled wool which is incredibly warm and windproof, and if it’s super cold, I’ll add a quilted down vest under my coat. Buy a longer coat if you want to stay warm, at least mid-thigh. Top that with a wool or cashmere scarf, fleece hat, coat hood, glove liners, and bulky wool mittens, and I can shovel snow for an hour in -7, windchill of -29 Fahrenheit. If it’s colder I have a bear fur hat with flaps that I inherited from my aunt. I only bust that out if it’s blizzardy.

  53. I live in the Boston area (for the time being, hopefully moving to Western Mass soonish) and am pretty overjoyed to have had freezing temps and snow lately. I KNOW, I KNOW. I have an unnatural fixation with snow and winter… And let me just say I’ve had a love affair/fixation with Canada for a while now (Toronto and Cape Breton have my heart). Any fun queers in Canada who like to wax about the awesomeness of their city, please hit me up! I’m in social work school and seriously planning a move north for when I’m done.

    As for other stuff, I’m having a rough week… and am pretty desperate for some love and encouragement and cyber-hugs. I tend to be a pretty private person and am kinda nervous about posting this, but it’s eating me alive.

    I’m a queer lady in my mid-20s with a live-in (straight male cis) partner who I love very much; he’s a wonderful person and my best friend. We’ve been together for over two years, and have been having physical intimacy issues (originating on my end) for about a year and a half now. It might look at a glance like we should’ve broken up ages ago, but it goes deeper — I continue to love living with him and being with him in virtually every other way, and the underlying sense of love and partnership (and the possibility of the sexual connection returning) has kept us together and carried us into the present. Till now.

    I’ve been thinking more and more that perhaps my increasing inability/total lack of desire to be physical with him and other men is because I’m not as sexually fluid as I used to think I was. I’m wondering if I’m *only* attracted to women, but I haven’t had a chance to explore this adequately to know. I’m confused and feeling trapped and isolated, despite having a very loving and compassionate partner who wants to do whatever he can to support me in figuring this out. Still, I am very aware of the realities of potentially ending a strong partnership with a person I love (in a non-sexual but very meaningful way) in order to figure my shit out and maybe not learn anything new about myself, and am deeply sad about the possibility of losing having my partner (but not ‘lover’) in my life in this capacity. But I know I need to explore this, somehow, I feel it in my bones.

    I’m struggling hard (with the support of my therapist!) to feel patience and compassion for myself. Feeling really scared, sad, and isolated around this. I’ve sought out support groups and have a queer friend or two who live far away that I’ve reached out to (I don’t have a dependable network of local queer folk). So… I’m just totally at a loss, and trying to create space for self-love and patience and calm amidst all the panic panic panic. Any thoughts or (if possible) reassurance around this? Can anyone relate? You are all so very appreciated.

    • Oh honey. *hugs* I have to go to bed. I read your words, I hear you, I have things to say, but they must wait until tomorrow. You are cared for. <3

    • I know how you feel and I know how difficult it is to have these feelings. But have you thought about how he may feel. Maybe it’s not very fair to him to be in this relationship when you are so uncertain of your feelings. You say that you are having a hard time thinking of living without your support but what about how he feels? Just some thoughts, I was in a 6 year relationship with a woman and it sounds very similar to a lot of the things you speak of specifically the sexual component and I still have regrets about not letting her go sooner when it was better for her but I was too afraid to be alone or without my support person.

      • Hi Britt, thanks for sharing your thoughts and your own experience; I regret that it was painful for both of you. Yes, I have thought about how he may feel. Endlessly and in many long conversations with him, with my therapist, and in my head. I have been extremely straightforward with him, and have made it clear to him that I’m feeling more confused about the origins of my lack of sexual desire and am wondering about my sexual fluidity (or lack thereof) more than before. Initially I was thinking my sexual shutdown with him was more related to PTSD issues, but now that I’m exploring my sexuality more in other ways (I have kept myself pretty disconnected from myself as a sexual being over the years), I’m pretty sure it’s not just that.

        I appreciate you bringing up his side of things. I think I came on here looking for some compassion for myself in a selfish way, because within our relationship I’ve been focusing obsessively on how “fair” it is for him to be with me when I am not able to provide a sexual element to the relationship, etc., and we’ve talked about it at length. He is incredibly patient and understanding, in part because I think he likes the aspects of love and partnership as much as I do, but we are both agreeing that at this point we have to figure something out when it comes to physical intimacy — it’s probably a symptom of something else at hand.

        I’m sorry if I didn’t explain this right; I’m not afraid to be alone or without my support person. I really do love him and our partnership, as does he; we are each other’s best friends, and had a strong romantic relationship beforehand.

        I’m trying not to take your comment in a somewhat blaming way, as all I’ve done in this entire process is blame and criticize myself, so I’m hoping for some kind words from someone. Yes, selfish, but I’m feeling pretty desperate for words of acceptance from people who might understand, and I’m having a hard time regarding myself with compassion in this rather than anger and sadness and shame.

        • I’m so sorry if what I said made you feel as if I was hurtful to you in some way. That wasn’t my intent. I know what you are going through is very hard. I’m going through a difficult time myself and maybe my frustration with myself came through my comment wrong. I’m sending you hugs and acceptance too because it’s what I need right now too and maybe I didn’t go about it right. So I’m sorry and am sending you Internet hugs and support

          • No worries, Britt, and thank you for following up. I’m sorry you’re also going through such a rough time and can definitely appreciate the messy feelings and actions that can come out of it. Relationships are complex enough without identity stuff coming into the equation. Sending you back cyber-hugs and, as you said, acceptance.

    • What a tough place to be in! Recently I went through something very similar (the isolation/panic/sadness, just minus the partner aspect). It is difficult to say the least. I’m not going to pretend like I have the perfect piece of advice to your problem, but I can offer up what ended up helping me out.

      I was attracted to a close male friend for quite a while. I even attempted to pursue it (I have issues putting effort into such things). Then one day I just stopped. I then began to panic and feel scared and trapped and lost and many other things because of one thought: “What if my ‘attraction’ to guys was just manufactured in my head to meet others’ expectations of me?” In other words, what if I was only attracted to female-identified persons? I chewed on that thought for months. On NYE this year, I found out that my friend had a girlfriend, and it didn’t bother me in the least, which further confirmed my suspicions and unsettled me. So I spent most of NYE texting a very close friend, who helped talk me through it. I am in a much calmer, peaceful place with myself now.

      So that’s how I can halfway relate to your situation. I also haven’t had as many opportunities to explore my attraction to women adequately, but I’m sure it will come in time.

      • Thanks for sharing, Megan. I can relate to some of those thoughts… including the thought that if he had a different female sexual partner, it wouldn’t upset me as much as I thought it should. I’m glad you had a close friend to reach out to as a support (on NYE of all times! rough), and that you’re feeling more at peace with yourself. Maybe things just “are” and that’s okay. I’m working toward peace and acceptance too, and trying to be less ashamed/self-isolating and more open with my friend supports.

        • Hi Wren,
          I’ve been reading autostraddle for about five years and have never made an account (I generally like to be invisible online). But I wanted to respond to you.
          First of all, I was also living in the Boston area until pretty recently, and I also love snow more than almost anything. I hope you’re having a very snowy winter.
          I want to tell you that I’m thinking about you and I can relate, at least to some degree, to what you’re going through and how difficult it is. I hope (and also really believe) things will get better for you, but for now I hope you are kind to yourself and do look for and find love and support.
          I was with someone (also a straight cis guy, also my best friend) for six years, lived with him, loved him and do love him really deeply. I have long-standing issues around sex but they got harder and harder and I felt a lot of what you do, and it really became the most painful thing in a loving, supportive, wonderful relationship. For both of us, on a lot of levels.
          I had always identified as bi, which he but almost no one else had known since the beginning of our relationship, but had never been with a woman and just generally felt tortured every single day about how I would ultimately have to hurt him, and the loss I would ultimately experience, but leaving also seemed impossible. Everything seemed impossible.
          I took an opportunity to move to another country for a while, and eventually ended the relationship (not that many months ago). I wouldn’t have really wanted to hear that when I was going through what you are, but I’m NOT saying you need to/will inevitably leave, just part of my story.
          Just know that I know how really incredibly hard and painful it is. You sound like you’re loving and introspective and open as a partner.
          I spent about a year of therapy talking about and around my relationship and it was helpful, but I also couldn’t really let myself hear or think anything that could lead to leaving. I was so terrified and panicked, constantly.
          One thing that I believe is just that sometimes maybe there are things we “need” to do (and this might not necessarily mean breaking up, but it might mean making some changes), but sometimes we just can’t do them. We just can’t. Until we can. And when you can’t/aren’t ready do something – whether that’s know yourself/your desires better than you do, or give more to your partner than you do, or just act, period – I think it’s important to be kind to yourself about it.
          Anyway, thanks for sharing and I wish you all the best. And if you ever want to talk about this more, or snow, or Boston, lemme know. Sending love and thoughts.

          • Hi lira — thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. (I’m glad you broke your invisibility and responded — I’m a lurker 99% of the time too.) Boston hasn’t been too snowy this year so far, unfortunately, but I’m getting my fix. I hope you are, too, wherever you are now. :)

            Your story mirrors mine in so many ways, from the longstanding issues around sex to the tortured feelings to the therapy (talking around my rlshp issues and fear of leaving ^10000), and I am so grateful to know heard that there’s someone else out there (!!!) who has been through it and gets it. Because it does feel impossible right now. We may be on the verge of having to move apart for school/work reasons, and that might be what prompts a transition, one way or the other.

            We can’t, until we can. I’m literally writing this down and am going to read it to myself as a reminder. Thank you so much.

    • Man, that’s rough. I’m sending you hugs and hoping you get things figured out–sometimes not understanding what’s causing the problem can be worse than having a definite problem.

      • I agree. And cutting off the endless thought-cycling to try to figure it out (as if it were a puzzle I can rationally work through) might be part of that. Thank you, Marais!

  54. I know this thread is pretty much over…..and I wish I had thought about this and wrote earlier…..

    What makes me feel warm is knowing there are so many of you emotionally caring women who are out there who support and guide females like me be more loving women in our search for love and happiness.

    Thank all of you SO much!

  55. It’s been raining crazy here so its been cold,I go straight for my hot chai tea/coffee every morning .and if I’m heading out my jeans ,a long sleeved dressy sweater or just a warm turtle neck and scarf .cuddling will be a good way but no one to cuddle :( and not to forget my fuzzy socks.imgood to go!

  56. I actually thrive in cold weather–that probably means there’s something fundamentally wrong with me, like I’m dead inside, but damn I love a good chilly (and chill!) weekend spent sippin’ on chai tea, reading a book, and just generally aspiring to be the human equivalent of the Sleepytime Tea bear. That motherlicker is so cozy. I will never be that cozy but I can dream.

    Also, and unrelated, I love the playlists y’all produce every so often for specific contexts, like long car drives home or looking out the window forlornly because you’re hardcore into one of your friends but she’s in a relationship at the moment–whoops, I’m starting to project. Anyway, have y’all ever compiled a list of songs in which the female singers sound like they’re climaxing? Because if not please dooooooo. Songs by Goldfrapp and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs / Karen O immediately come (lol) to mind. Sometimes a girl wants to get down to another girl getting off, ya know?

  57. I live in a house that is basically a drafty cement box, with no heating system whatsoever. It’s not really that cold here (around 50’s in the daytime, 30’s at night), but it definitely feels cold because of the zero-heating thing. I have several pairs of stylish fingerless gloves to wear when I’m working, multiple hats/scarves/blankets, etc. I also have an awesome hot water bottle and a down coat from Uniqlo which is basically like a wearable sleeping bag.

    I had kind of a rough week, emotionally speaking. I got an e-mail from my mom (from whom I am basically estranged) which was really manipulative and shitty. I’m proud of all the work that I’ve done to build boundaries to protect myself in my relationship with her, but it sucks that she can still hurt me and make me question whether I’m a terrible person for keeping her at arm’s length. I know I’m not, but still. I’m not going to respond to her e-mail, although I did briefly consider just sending her this link from Jezebel:

    I also had several nights of weird recurring nightmares, for no discernible reason. I should be in bed already because I have to wake up early for a work thing and it’s almost midnight, but I’m not enthusiastic about the possibility of having the nightmares again :-/

    On the brighter side, I submitted my first article to an academic journal this week (co-wrote it with a friend). Hoping it gets accepted!

    • Congratulations on your article, that is super awesome! What is it about and which journal did you submit it too?
      I read the article you linked, and it hit me hard.
      I have a tentative relationship with my parents, and recognized a lot of the things mentioned in this article and the comments.
      Things like: “They accuse me of being a terrible person, but won’t elaborate about exactly what I’ve done. Well, sometimes they do, but it doesn’t make sense, at least to me”
      and from the comments “I think sometimes abusive parents have a tendency to believe the lies they’ve told themselves about how wonderful their children’s childhoods were. Particularly if their children turned out to be decent adults”
      I recognized so much of this and that is quite hard. There is nothing wrong with keeping your mom at an arms length if that is the best for your mental health. And I don’t think sending it to your mom will help, especially if she is as clueless as the mom in the article.
      Good luck and don’t beat yourself up to much about your mum getting to you!

      • Thanks Nora! Yeah, reading the article and the comments was helpful to me because it’s good to be reminded that I’m not alone in the experience of having rocky relationships with my parents. But I don’t think it would do any good to send it to my mom because she just completely ignores anything that might challenge her perception of herself as the most loving and sacrificial mother ever, cursed with ungrateful children. Delusions are powerful things! Also, like many of the parents mentioned in the article, she built her entire self-concept around motherhood (never held a job, has almost no significant relationships/friendships, etc), so I think it’s just not possible for her to accept that she royally failed at it. It’s much easier to blame me and my sister (who also keeps her distance from our mom). I feel really sorry for my mom, but I know that I can’t change her warped version of reality or get her to really understand/accept me as a distinct person, not just an extension of herself. I tried that for years, and it was a horrible ordeal. So… yay boundaries!

        Our article is about citizenship in Nepal, where we both work as researchers in anthropology/sociology. In a nutshell, under the current laws, children can only inherit citizenship from their fathers, not from their mothers. We wanted to analyze the patriarchal assumptions underlying these laws and also call attention to the work of activists who are fighting to change the laws. We submitted it to an Asia Studies journal called Positions – if it doesn’t get accepted there, we’ll shop it around to other journals.

  58. My bearded dragon lives in my bedroom and he has a heat lamp that’s always on, so as a result my room stays nice and toasty.

    I would say I stay warm with lots of sex but that would be a total lie.

    P.S. Carolyn, you are adorable.

    • I work at Home Depot and a woman asked me what would be a good material for the floor in a terrarium for a bearded dragon??????????
      I am supposed to know everything……. NOT! So what is up with these guys? Is everything “bad” for them? :)

  59. YOU GUYS here’s a kind of crazy, possibly unreadable post. I kind of skipped around a bunch and added in pictures just now and it’s sort of a mess, but WHATEVER! I’ve missed you all!!

    Back when I was going to school at Michigan State (go green!), I had the greatest most gigantic amazing coat that ever was, along with the most hideous, but also the most wonderful warm comfy boots I have ever experienced. The coat went down past my knees, was quilted underneath another outside layer, and probably was filled with pheonix down and made with the hides of fire elementals, because this shit was so warm. Bootwise, they were like black uggs covered halfway with rubber? I don’t even know they were just amazing. My friends and I would swim in the evenings, and once dropped my clothes in a puddle in the locker room and I walked from the pool building to my dorm in 10 degree weather wearing ONLY my coat, boots, underwear, and socks. It didn’t get much colder than 0 where I was, but every bit of me covered by that coat was always warm. I also had a great collection of arm warmers, thigh high socks, gigantic pashminas, knitted hats and knitted headband things (I like to knit), and a few pairs of leather gloves. I actually miss winter, but I maybe don’t miss my eyeballs feeling cold? Also when you go outside and your nose hairs freeze? Like, what is that, world? Why would you do that?

    Anyway, I feel like I haven’t written a FOT post in so so long! I turned 26 and had a wonderful birthday party+bar crawl on the 23rd of December, a lovely christmas/christmas eve with the fam, and a super fun New Year’s Eve—I hosted a Straddler party at my house! Holly and a few friends took over making dinner because I was sick with some sort of food poisoning and also fell down the stairs and so I didn’t drink anything because I was worried I was going to throw up and my foot still aches from the fall but I still managed to have a completely awesome time YAY.

    bday dinner with old friends before going out with new ones!

    My friend gave me a bowtie! Sadly I had no time to youtube how to tie it properly as I put it on the minute I opened it, and I kept fidgeting with it, so it looks wonky as hell. Next time I’ll plan better and tie it right!

    Blurry laughing with girlfriend Holly

    (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); = id; js.src = “//”; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’));
    Post by Calvin Selth.
    I opened a bottle of champagne with a knife on New Years. You guys I have never felt SO COOL. Can I get a job opening champagne with a big knife? I want that job. I’m trying to embed a video of it but it’s from facebook so we’ll see if this works.

    Last week I GOT A CAR! Oh my goodness oh my gourd oh my car oh my oh my oh my car payment urgh

    excited about car, terrified of money/responsibility/adulthood (not too much though I can DO THIS)

    Work is going really well? I think? It is but like what if everything explodes suddenly I DON’T KNOW. I’m worried because a couple of jobs that were very solid are suddenly becoming less solid. I am thinking of doing more floral design as opposed to event design? Or maybe just like, focusing on floral more in my wedding work? I don’t know, I just feel like it’s the part I like most about doing weddings, and it’s a thing I want to do more of. I am tired and slightly incoherent I think. Update: Work started out awesome this week, and ended up shitty. boooo

    This week I have been very social; I’ve been out the last two nights and I’m going to another birthday party on saturday and maybe a concert up in LA on Sunday? I was supposed to hang out with more friends tonight but Holly’s sick so I’m bringing her food and pepto and cuddles instead.

    Selfie shoot with Jim


    So I did that! And then fell asleep instead of finishing my post, and then yesterday I worked right up until I had to leave. I feel like I have been doing that a lot lately–I haven’t really had much in-between time, decompression time. I think this is not the best thing for me.

    girlfriend time is good for me though


    ANYway this week a bunch of straddlers went out to girl’s night at Velvet, which is (I think?) the only girl’s night at a gay club in our area. It’s the only one I know about, anyway. IT WAS AWESOME. I ended up dancing most of the night, which is something I should do more because it is the best? Holly’s so great about it too–she comes and dances with me every so often and I come and sit with her every so often and the rest of the time we just hang out with whoever and it was so nice! I dated a couple dudes (dark times) who hated dancing, so they expected me to just not dance at all. What is that about? Anyway it was just really really nice and really really fun! Also I wore a floral crop top and my girlfriend wore some tiny fairy wings because no one else wanted to and the birthday girl got multiple lap dances and everyone was cheerful and it was SO FUN YAY! I’m thinking about maybe trying to start a standing straddler event so we can do this every month or so?

    showing off my armpit hair yesss

    I feel like there’s a bunch more I wanted to ramble about, but a wise friend once mentioned that they were “all shared out” and that is how I’ve been feeling all the time lately, regardless of whether or not I’ve been sharing things? I think I need to start taking my birth control pills again for my PCOS. I’ve been letting them slip lately, and while I feel really good when I’m off of them for a month or so, after that I start feeling not good. Too many androgens, yo. Depression time. Blah. Maybe I’m just post-holiday tired still?
    Just called the pharmacy! Picking them up on my way home tonight. Sigh.

    AND NOW (that i am tired of typing things out)HERE’S A SHITLOAD OF FLOWER PICTURES AND ALSO A COUPLE OF DOG PICTURES courtesy of my instagram feed!!

    Zinnias! I might’ve posted this a few weeks ago but I don’t remember? They’re so happy and colorful!

    Hellebore! Spooky pretty.

    I like this picture because it looks depthy. There’s some astilbe and some tulips, and those pretty little bell looking flowers? I forget what they’re called!


    texturey stuff! There’s some yarrow in there, and some other stuff? I don’t know it’s pretty

    Hydrangea! It looks fake but it is real. It was SO perfect!!

    Some trumpet vine in the actual outside! Crazy.

    More outside! Morning glories lookin’ glorious

    Musa is a beautiful modelllllll

    <3 <3 <3 LOVE YOU GUYS hope you had a nice weekend!

    • your pics are always grand but the one with you and Holly cracking up so much — ah, heart-warming, love it. <3 :)

    • I want Musa to sleep beside me!!!! Arrrggghhh! I miss my Badger… who slept with me after my hip surgery…. and gave me his love. … Tears……:(.

    • There is also Tin Lizzy in the area, but I think that’s on Sundays(that aren’t a holiday the next day like Labor day). But, that’s more bar so no show like VLVT has when one gets there early.

    • I’ve missed you on the Friday Open threads lately, but you definitely made up for it with all the adorable photos of you and your girlfriend and bird and dog. And all those brilliantly colorful flowers! Wish I lived close enough to go to the straddler events you host – they sound lovely!
      And congrats on the car – how exciting! Do you have a name for it? (Is it weird to name cars? I don’t think so. I named mine “Curiosity” after the Mars rover.)

      • it doesn’t have a name yet, but I’m working on it! My best friend from college named her’s Murder Train, and I feel like I’m never going to find a better name than that, but I’m going to try! Hahaha :)

    • Yay car and all the party and fun stuff. Adulting is weird and I’m still not sure I’m doing it right and I’m 31. If we all just keep at it maybe it’ll make sense some day.

  60. I hope all of you know that males would never in ten million years have an emotional love connection that we share on these Friday Open Threads here on AS. This emotional support and community for each other is one of the most powerful and beautiful traits of the female gender at its best.
    I am so proud that my gender is female, and feeling connected emotionally with all of you.

  61. My favourite strategy is not so much layers of clothing, central heating or warm beverages, but instead …well, a country. Australia, to be specific. Our 36 degree (or 97 degree, for the fahrenheit-inclined) weather sure is a great way to warm up, or er, get heat stroke, as is more likely.

    Really, it’s all about keeping cool, and a trip to the beach (unfortunately followed soon after by the entire beach’s evacuation due to a shark) is my favourite thing to this summer season.

  62. Was feeling pretty great on Friday, as the super affectionate cat that has been living in the storm drain outside of our house, through blindingly cold temperatures, finally got into a rescue. His name is Phil and he gives good strong hugs. He’s the best. Anyway, he got into a rescue, but today, he tested positive for both FIV AND Feline Leukemia. So if he remains positive when retested in a couple of weeks and we can’t find help for him, he’ll be euthanized.
    I’ve been crying all evening. And this was supposed to be a great long weekend!

  63. UGH I was just diagnosed with flu today and I want to complain to a sympathetic audience so here I am. I did get Tamiflu so hopefully I’ll feel less like garbage soon? But I’m still in no shape to drive 4 hours back to school, so I’m almost assuredly missing my first day of classes booo. And the doc said that it looked like it might be swine flu which has shown some resistance to Tamiflu and knowing my luck, well, odds are that’s probably what I have. Since I didn’t feel like complete garbage yesterday (I swear I just thought I might be coming down with a cold until nighttime!), I spent time with my 94-year-old grandma and my mom’s 86-year-old cousin and exposed them both to flu and I’m nervous that they’ll get sick because while they’re both pretty hearty old ladies, they’re not nearly as hearty as they used to be and flu could be pretty bad for them.

    • Ahhhh! I hope you feel better very soon and that you didn’t unwittingly pass the flu on to the old ladies. Be well!

    • Ugh, sorry to hear that. This has been such a bad year for colds and flus; seems like everyone I know has gotten sick at some point this year. Hope you feel better soon!

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