It’s been a tough year, but you’ve helped to get me through

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Photo by Kiy Turk on Unsplash

My mom passed away in September and this will be the first holiday without her. My dad and my brother have been gone for many years, so it’s also my first holiday as the last of my very small family of origin. There are no aunts/uncles or cousins. I had some uncles once, but they too are long gone. On top of that, my brother-in-law (James’ brother) and sister-in-law are in the middle of a divorce. James’ mother is in an assisted living facility that’s on lockdown, and so we won’t have her here today either.

It’s been a tough year, with ever-dwindling human contact, and although I’m sad about all of that, I’m trying to focus on the things that I am grateful for instead. This community is right up there. You, the reader, and you, my fellow writers are a part of what keeps me going and feeling at least somewhat connected to the world around me. In-person friendships are still important, but without a chance to get together, many of those are somewhat on the back burner. I’m not really a talking on the phone kind of person, although I do it some with a few of my besties — but not every day. …


Sperm competition, not butting heads, determined who passed on their genes

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Photo by Elisa Stone on Unsplash

Imagine this scene, not unlike what still takes place in many current hunter-gather tribes. A group of Paleolithic men and women come in from hunting small game together and bring their kill to the group for preparation for dinner. Several individuals come in from their foraging too, mostly women, but a few men as well. They also bring what they’ve gathered to the group, and in many instances, this makes up the bulk of the meal, not the meat, depending on where they live.

Unlike what you may have been led to believe, this is how our Paleolithic ancestors survived — by all taking care of each other. Men did not “provide” for their mate in the way that we think of that term, because everyone contributed to the food for the tribe, which typically consisted of 20–50 individuals. The group made sure that everyone had something to eat, regardless of their own food acquisition success on any particular day. “Cooperation and especially food sharing are essential for survival in a hunting-and-gathering economy,” (anthropologist Mark) Dyble said. “The proverb that ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ is certainly true for hunter-gatherers who, without food sharing to mitigate the day-to-day shortfalls in foraging, could simply not survive.” …


All states are purple states, despite how it’s often presented

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Graphic by Abraham Rutchick, et al

“The biggest lie perpetrated on the American public in the last thirty years has been that we’re irrevocably divided between Red and Blue.” -former senator Bill Bradley

In 2009 Abraham Rutchick and his co-authors published a paper, Seeing Red (and Blue): Effects of Electoral College Depictions on Political Group Perception. Here is what they said about their research:

Colored maps depicting electoral results may exacerbate perceptions of polarization, rather than merely reflecting them. …


How come you still need this stuff explained to you?

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Photo by christian buehner on Unsplash

What does the term “privilege” actually mean?

What kinds of daily experiences, besides sexual harassment, really grind women’s spirits down?

Why can’t we all just be individuals and not identify so much with demographic groups?

Why isn’t it a personal attack or reverse racism/misogyny if someone references men or white men in particular?

Seriously, progressive white dude, why don’t you already know the answers to these questions? …


Too much quantity with not enough quality was causing problems

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Photo by Hunter Newton on Unsplash

My husband James and I have been together for close to 30 years, most of them as a married couple. We’ve had the usual ups and downs of any long-term cohabitation, but dealing with the coronavirus as well other stressers in our lives nearly did our marriage in. Fortunately, it also gave us a chance to change up the way that we’d been going about things, and that made all the difference. …


Because you’re more likely to annoy her than make her hot

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Licensed from Adobe Stock

The conventional wisdom is that everyone knows that porn is entertainment, that it isn’t real sex. And yet, I’ve heard more stories than I can count from angry or disappointed women who got some porn move pulled on them that they absolutely hated. This happened without a thought as to whether or not that was an acceptable thing to do or something that they would enjoy. …


But they do fear the loss of “traditional” culture and they don’t know what else to call that

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Licensed from Adobe Stock

The first time that I heard someone talk about socialism in the context of the recent election, I laughed — the kind of laugh where you snort and then giggle a little bit. Fortunately, it wasn’t to anyone’s face, and when I did hear it in person again, later on, I was able to keep from snorting (at least out loud). Joe Biden is a lot of things, not all of them positive, but a socialist is not one of those things. In fact, he’s actually publicly come out against single-payer health care. Another one of the main criticisms of Biden more generally is that he stands so much for the status quo. …


If you don’t develop the skills to keep defining your relationship for yourself, it’s probably not going to work

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Photo by taylor hernandez on Unsplash

There’s a woman in my Facebook polyamory group who is in a monogamous relationship. She stays a part of our group because that just happens to be the configuration she is in and wants to be in right now. She is not necessarily a monogamist; she just only wants to be with this particular person at this point in their lives. She hasn’t definitively rejected polyamory. Instead, what’s she’s rejecting is the notion that she has to fit into someone else’s relationship paradigms and since that’s a core aspect of polyamory, she continues to be a part of the group.

Mary (as I’ll call her here) has been in polyamorous relationships for many years. The same goes for the guy she’s with right now, but they’ve decided that what they want at this point in their lives is to focus only on each other. He’s told her that if she ever wants to change that, she absolutely can and she’s told him the same. Their commitment to each other excludes other people right now, but not necessarily until the end of time. …


Should you expect the Teamsters to hone in on the issues of the Screen Actor’s Guild?

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Photo by roya ann miller on Unsplash

This was excerpted from a discussion I had with yet another man who was sure that it is feminism and not patriarchy that is the source of all of his troubles. He scoffed at the idea that 1 in 5 women had experienced sexual assault and defended things like groping as inevitable because according to him, men are designed to be sexual aggressors.


Moving away from monogamy and heterosexuality dismantled that notion

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Alexander Skarsgard from Wikipedia

My husband James is a tall, Nordic-looking guy in the same vein as actor Alexander Skarsgard. That’s my type, or so I have always thought. It’s not that I never dated anyone who didn’t look like that (not Sakarsgard in particular, I wish, but the tall, Nordic type), but it was always my preference and the guys I dated always had some similarity. If they weren’t tall and Nordic, they were at least blonde. The boyfriend with dark brown hair was at least very tall and had that similar lithe build.

I understand that you don’t always have control over who you are attracted to, but I also know from personal experience that this type of preference can broaden. At least it did for me. When my sexuality was something that I kept in a box and only took out on certain occasions, I was primarily attracted to “my type.” …

About

Elle Beau ❇︎

Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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