Sexy Snaps & Photo Booth Flirtations

Being in a new long-distance relationship has me pondering ways to create intimacy across vast expanses.

I know it’s possible because I’ve felt it. Sometimes partners who lived just a quick streetcar ride from me made me feel distanced, shut out, because their hearts were walled off to me; comparatively, my darling in New York pulls me close to him via texts, images, and filthy phone-sex soliloquies. Intimacy can exist wherever you make space for it, wherever you fight for it.

We’ve been playing with digital intimacy in many forms – salacious sexts, obscene FaceTime calls, adventures with app-controlled vibrators – but I’m also drawn, lately, to combining analog romance with the digital. Photo booths are a prime example of our cultural hearkening-back to the analog: like gifting your partner a vinyl LP or sending them a handwritten love letter, snapping instant photos together in a darkened booth is a hot hit of vintage romance.

Here are 5 sexy, kinky, and/or sweet things I’d like to do involving photo booths…

“Strip” tease. I could be ordered to get as naked as I feasibly could in a photo booth, showing off first my lingerie and then my skin. I’d be respectful, making sure no one walked in or got close enough to see – but I’d have to do it, some way and somehow, because my beau’d told me to. I’d grab the strip from its slot surreptitiously on my way out, and slide it into my purse before anyone could see. Four little naked Kates, arranged so neatly for a suitor’s later consumption.

Bruise archive. In many of my past kinky relationships, part of our protocol – whether informal or more official – was the taking and sending of bruise photos in the days after particularly intense scenes. It’s a way to stretch out the sadomasochistic intimacy of those encounters for days or weeks after they occur. For dominants, I hear it can also be nice to receive confirmation that your submissive not only likes their bruises but is proud of them, wants to show them off, wants to make them last. If I had a photo booth in my neighborhood, perhaps I’d instate a tradition of heading there the day after a good beating – and the week after that, and so on, until the marks had faded – to capture my bruises blooming into glory. What a charming album that’d make.

Cuteness quartet. It’s nice to receive a “traditional” gift, like a DVD I’ve been wanting, a gift certificate to my favorite store, or a soft sweater in my power colors. But I’m even more thrilled by personalized and offbeat gifts. I could see a partner snapping a few photo booth strips of himself for me, making all my fave faces and wearing that shirt that makes his eyes look extra blue. Maybe he’d slide it between the pages of a book he thought I’d like and mail it to me, like the photos were an afterthought, a mere bookmark – but I’d know better. I’d see in the shots how much effort had gone into them, and I’d know that meant he cared. A lot.

Date documentation. I love romantic traditions: these little touchstones we return to again and again, simply because they bring us so much joy. That diner you always go to after all-night fuck-fests; that movie you watch together every year around the holidays; that one alley you can’t walk past without making out in it for old times’ sake. I like the idea of taking photo booth pictures together at meted milestones in your relationship. I’m a sap, so I’d probably tape them into my journal, or have them framed.

Phone sex. A photo booth would be an interesting place to call up a beau and have them breathe hot and heavy in your ear. You could capture your authentic reactions to their words – gasps, blushes, moans – and snap your lapful of photo strips on your smartphone to send them. And hey, not to get crass, but I wonder what happens to photo booth ink when the strips get splattered in cum…!

What sexy/kinky/sweet things would you like to do in a photo booth?

 

This post was sponsored by the lovely folks at Ninja Photo, who will rent you photo booths across Canada and so many other places!

12 Days of Girly Juice 2017: 7 Bangin’ Selfies

It’s hard to pick selfies that sum up your whole year, but these are some strong contenders! (Content note: there are boobs in this post!)

Femme friends were so important to me this year, and every year. One such pal is Rosaline, a pink-haired pixie who’s always around to cheer me on and pump me up over a bottle of white wine.

We had lots of goofy adventures together this year, mostly involving pre-drinking for various parties, doing our makeup together, and then marching into said parties all flirty and long-lashed like queens. I love how my femme friends remind me of immutable truths: being a femme person in this world is hard but it is also wonderful, and femmes are even more brave and powerful than the misogynist cultural forces that aim to keep us down. I hope to continue to foster my femme friendships in 2018 and beyond.


Speaking of good friends… I didn’t get to spend as much time with Brent this year as I have in previous years, because he wasn’t in Toronto as much. But when we did hang out, we made it count: we laughed a lot over beers, played a ton of Use Your Words, and on one memorable occasion, he saved me from a bunch of pill bugs I accidentally sat on. Our friendship is strange and lovely.

The night this photo was taken, I attended Use Your Words’ Toronto launch party because I was a staff writer on the game (fancy!). Between talking, schmoozing, and playing the game, Brent and I decided to order a couple of corndogs from the bar kitchen. “Can I take a selfie of us eating these?” I asked him, to which he replied, “Only if we both put ’em in our mouths like we’re fellating them.” Stuff like this is why we’re friends.


In March, my local community discovered someone we thought we could trust was actually a misogynist shitbag, and it shook the foundations of what we thought we knew. For weeks, I felt unable to trust any men (moreso even than usual). What was the point, if any so-called feminist man could turn out to be a total garbage fire?

I had coincidentally been invited to a party later that week whose theme was “femme witch power.” We were encouraged to wear whatever made us feel feminine and powerful. I slung on a navy skater dress, rimmed my eyes in dark eyeshadow, and painted on a deep maroon liquid lipstick. At the last minute before leaving the house, I added my glass eyeball necklace, pulled my tits out of my dress, and took some fierce-faced selfies on my laptop webcam.

I didn’t feel like smiling that day. I wanted to wield my femininity and sexuality like a weapon. So I resisted the urge to pull a smile or make a “pretty” face, and just stared down the camera, fierce and unforgiving. I felt beautiful, but in a way that was just for me – not for the consumption of the abusive fuckfaces who think they can just take and take and take.


I took this while out getting ice cream with Suz and Bex before a jaunt to Tell Me Something Good, our local sexy storytelling night. It was a lovely evening out with friends, and equally wonderful was that sometime either before or after this photo was taken, someone came up to us on the street to tell us they read and loved all three of our blogs. Getting recognized in public is a special kind of thrill, and the more it happens, the more my impostor syndrome melts away and I feel like a Real Writer doing Real, Important Things!


This was taken on one of the first days I actually felt slightly cute, competent, and coherent after a breakup that totally devastated me. I like how you can see in my facial expression that I’m still kind of a mess: I’ve heard fellow depressed people describe feeling “like an alien” who can’t even tell whether their face is forming appropriate and normal facial expressions, because they’re so numb and blunted, and that’s how I felt on this day. Unsure how all my different components hung together, but attempting to make a good show of myself nonetheless. Like Tony Kushner wrote on heartbreak in his magnum opus Angels in America: “Just mangled guts, pretending.

It’s telling that I’m wearing short shorts and have tied my shirt into a crop top. Depression makes me want to hide, but as I surface from that cave, I begin to want to show off again. Maybe just a little. Maybe still from the safety of monochromes and familiar fabrics. Bit by bit, I always come crawling back to my joy, even if it takes all the strength I can summon.


(Content note for suicidal ideations in this one, folks.) One of the most exciting events of my year was going to a My Brother, My Brother and Me live podcast recording at the Kings Theatre in Brooklyn. I first started listening to MBMBaM almost three years ago, and in that time, these boys have literally saved my life on countless occasions. When I’m too mind-numbingly depressed to be trusted with my sad thoughts in solitude, let alone to get out of bed and rejoin society, I put on a McElroy podcast. They keep me occupied until I can get back to living without wanting to die.

I went to this show by myself, because I didn’t know anyone else who was both as McElroy-obsessed as me and financially and temporally able to get to the venue. I snapped this photo quickly, self-consciously, as I stood in line amongst throngs of other fans. Moments later, when the line moved ahead and I walked into the theatre, tears burned down my cheeks. I couldn’t believe I was so physically close to these boys who had saved my life, walked me through dark days, made me laugh when nothing else could. Thankfully, no one seemed to think my weeping was weird. I bought a poster, waited in line for a radioactively green cocktail, settled into my seat surrounded by jovial strangers, and laughed the night away.


I’ll close here with a moment of genuine joy; it’s a good note to go out on.

One night earlier this month, I was on the phone with someone who makes my heart feel all fuzzy and stupid. We exchanged goofy selfies while we talked, trying to disarm each other, to feel physically close though we were not.

He had asked me about the way my hair was cut, so I shook it out to its full glory so I could capture it in a selfie. Just as I went to hit the shutter, he made some dumb joke that set off sparks in my heart, and I burst into giggles and snapped this shot. “Aw, you made me laugh mid-selfie,” I commented, looking at the result on my phone screen and trying to decide if it was too silly to send.

No, I thought. This is how I wish I looked all the time. Lost in giggly reverie.

Links & Hijinks: Selfies, Scents, & a Bag of Dicks

a dildo, a vibrator, and some red panties

Need some new media with which to populate your brain this weekend? Here’s some of my favorite stuff from around the internet as of late…

• I love to read about interesting kinks. Here’s a piece on a man with a smoking fetish and what appeal the act holds for him. “I’m also into specific rituals and mannerisms. For instance, I love when a woman is dangling a cigarette from her mouth while fishing through her purse for a lighter,” he says. “I love lighting women’s cigarettes, too; it’s an intimate moment that’s all about eye contact.” (My friend Caitlin also likes this moment.)

• The folks at xoVain wrote about how they take selfies and it’s fascinating (plus useful info for rabid selfie-takers comme moi).

• If you’re looking to shake up your music collection, I can’t recommend Said the Gramophone’s annual Best Songs of the Year list highly enough. Sean writes beautifully about each and every song on his list. I’ve already discovered a few new gems to obsess over.

• My friend Sarah wrote about the unpaid work sex bloggers are asked to do, although pretty much all creative types are asked to work for free all the damn time. “Paying people for their labor shouldn’t have to be a revolutionary thing,” she writes. “If you think bloggers’ work is good enough for you to want to partner with us, pay us. It’s truly that simple.” Yes girl yes!

• Even if you’re not all that interested in perfume, you might enjoy The Dry Down, a perfume-focused newsletter written by Rachel Syme and Helena Fitzgerald. The one sent in early January was a beautifully written treatise on how perfume interacts with gender and economic privilege, and what perfume can be when it’s not about “inaccessible, monied femininity.” Fragrances, Helena writes, are “a way to invite both other people and yourself to play, to explore whatever gender or expression thereof interests you, whatever memories you want to crawl into the warm burrow of and sleep pressed against through the winter, whatever dormant stories you want to unlock from your own closed archives.”

• Caitlin wrote about the difference between a vulva and a vagina. Messing up this distinction is the quickest way to piss off a sex blogger, FYI…

• After reading my piece about feeling addicted to love, a friend sent me this article about “the shadow side of alternative sexuality,” and how kink and polyamory can “[paint you] into a corner of identity politics that nobody will be able to rescue you from because it feels too much like sex-shaming.” It’s heavy stuff, and I don’t think it’s a perfect match with my own experiences by any means, but it’s definitely some food for thought.

Brandon Taylor – who is fantastic – wrote a Twitter thread about lessons he’s learned. Some faves of mine:  “47. If you want to suck a dick, then suck one. Don’t take your sexual frustration and confusion out on others with oppressive legislation.” ✨”52. There is no making it. There is no line. There is no point at which you’ve achieved all your goals. Always be scheming and dreaming.”✨ “27. Gay men, LOL. Yikes.”

• This piece about the origins of the phrase “eat a bag of dicks” made me cry with laughter. “They say necessity is the mother of invention; at some point, it’s obvious that we as a society simply realized that telling someone to suck or eat one dick was no longer an adequate insult,” Tracy Moore writes. “We needed to go bigger.”

• Shon Faye’s “guide to everything you need to know about your twenties” is so, so good. Read it.

• “I have a depression and I always will,” writes my pal Sarah in this poignant, painful, but ultimately hopeful blog post.

• I’ve been swoonin’ over this Paul Cook song, “A Real Thunderbolt.” It’s such a lovely crystallization of what it feels like to be suddenly, profoundly attracted to someone. 🎵Someone who makes your heart jolt. Not some “okay” girl. A real thunderbolt.🎵

Queer femmes’ online communities are super important, flying in the face of misogyny (both the sociocultural and internalized kinds), homophobia, femmephobia, and millennial-shaming. “Having queer femme friendships is essential. It’s non-negotiable,” says one interviewee in this article, and I am wont to agree.

• This poem on “how to make love to a trans person” is gorgeous.

What were your favorite things you read/wrote/listened to this month?

12 Days of Girly Juice 2016: 7 Bangin’ Selfies

It’s the 21st century, so our lives are documented most vividly in hastily-snapped smartphone selfies. Flipping through the selfies folder on my phone is an emotional journey: big smiles, momentous days, fond memories. It was hard to choose just seven selfies to tell the story of my year, but I think these are the best ones to do that.

img_1329In April, I went on a road trip to Minneapolis by way of Chicago, with Bex, Taylor, and Caitlin. There were some long, long days of driving – days when we’d be on the road for 10 or 11 hours at a time. We rarely got bored, because we had each other’s company and our phones to keep us entertained (except when Bug Tussel fucked up our cell service briefly), but at one point the road became so monotonous to me that I began sexting a fuckbuddy back home out of sheer desperation. He politely requested a boob selfie from me and Bex, and we reminded him, “Subs respond better to direct orders!” The reply came back, “Okay: topless pic. Now.” In the middle of a rainstorm on a highway somewhere in Wisconsin, we whipped our tits out and snapped this silly shot (with Caitlin in the background). “That was like the boss fight of nudes!” Bex declared afterward.

imageRemember that time I met one of my lifelong heroes, Kidder Kaper, while visiting his hometown in the midwest? Remember how he drove me back to my Airbnb and then asked me if I wanted to kiss?! Remember how, immediately after that kiss, we got out of the car and took a bunch of goofy selfies together? I will treasure these shots forever, I’m sure. This one, in particular, makes me smile. Kidder looks as impassioned as ever, and my facial expression is the exact blend of delight and astonishment I was feeling about the whole situation.

img_2890My friend Brent is one of my favorite people on earth. We connected on Twitter by chance last year when I started listening to his podcast and tweeting at him. Then we met in person when he spent some time in Toronto developing Use Your Words, and instantly bonded over a shared love of showtunes, good booze, and bad puns. (Plus he understands that I am the Queen of Wands.) We took a fair number of selfies together this year, at various shindigs, but this one is my favorite. That glowy, giggly grin on my face? That is how happy this dude makes me, with his jokes, his songs, and his friendship. (Sorry-not-sorry fer gettin’ all sappy on you.)

img_1790It was pretty freakin’ momentous for me to meet Gala Darling in person this year; she’s been my hero since I was 15. She was preternaturally kind and encouraging, at a time in my life when I needed her exact brand of tough-love mentorship even more than usual. We snapped this selfie together on an East Village side street while waiting for Gala’s astrologer friend to come meet up with us. It’s cliché to say I felt like I was dreaming, but I did: how else could I possibly be in New York City with my role model/spirit mama?!

imageI was stoked as hell to meet porn legend Nina Hartley at the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit. She was a total sweetheart and I now have bragging rights for the rest of time. But what I think about, when I look at this photo, is the minutes that led up to it. I’d told Bex I wanted to meet Nina but was too nervous to go and talk to her. Bex, ever an encourager of my dreams, calmly told me that I was going to go talk to Nina; there were no two ways about it. Bex grabbed my hand, led me over to Nina, and introduced me to her. I feel so blessed to have friends who care about me enough to give me tough love when my anxiety is being an idiot. If not for Bex, I never would’ve gotten to tell Nina about that time my first boyfriend quoted one of her videos when going down on me!

When I was targeted by a bunch of misogynist trolls in July, one of them wrote a blog post about me and gleefully linked to this photo of me in my Aslan Nicki harness as if it were some horrible, disgusting thing that could not ever be unseen. I had to laugh when I clicked through and saw which photo he’d linked to. It wasn’t anything I’d consider ugly or embarrassing; in fact, I look babely as hell in this picture. I felt hot that night and wanted to celebrate it, commemorate it. That’s why I took this shot; that’s why I take most of the selfies I take. Never let anyone shame you for expressing your glorious, gorgeous self in a reverential self-portrait; you deserve to be immortalized in this way.

img_3453The night this was taken, my friend Cadence had invited me over to catch up, which amounted to me basically crying at her about boys all night. We ordered sushi, drank a lot of whiskey, and I told her about the rejections, break-ups and betrayals I’d been through recently. Getting that all off my chest, and laughing with my oldest friend, made my problems seem surmountable for the first time in a long while. I ducked into her bathroom, glanced in the mirror, and saw a foxy babe staring back at me, instead of just a hollow, depressed shell of a girl. So I pulled my shirt down, fluffed up my hair, and snapped this shot. I felt powerful, defiant, and uncharacteristically capable. I felt like things were going to be okay.

What are your favorite selfies you took this year?

12 Days of Girly Juice: 7 Bangin’ Selfies

Earlier this year, I had Piph edit one of my posts. There was a part in it where I said, “I’m sorry, I know this isn’t very coherent, but…”

Piph was absolutely adamant when she gave me feedback. “NEVER APOLOGIZE,” she wrote. And since she’s a badass, irreverent blogger who knows what she’s talking about, I’ve tried to take her advice.

So I’m going to present to you my 7 favorite selfies I took this year – without spouting excuses about why my face is all over the damn internet. It’s my story to tell the way I want to tell it. So here we go.

imageI took this on the night of the Feminist Porn Awards, which, incidentally, was also the first night I ever showed my face on the internet in connection with my Girly Juice identity. I just felt soooo damn pretty that night that I wanted to show myself off. I commanded my Twitter followers to tell me how “fucking foxy” I looked if they spotted me at the awards, and someone actually did! Aww.

This night also marked the birth of the phrase “femme queen mode,” which is what I call it when I put tonnnns of effort into my makeup and feel like a Head Beauty in Charge. Seriously, look at dat fancy eyeshadow…

imageThis was taken in Portland, outside Voodoo Doughnut. I had bought this ridiculous cotton candy-flavored donut mostly because it was turquoise and pink – which, as you may have noticed if you’ve ever looked at this freakin’ website, are my favorite colors. I was rocking pink tinted lip balm and my blue glasses, prompting Piph to announce, “Your donut matches your face!” So, a selfie seemed necessary, of course.

imageI took this first thing in the morning, the day I was gonna get my tattoo. The light was soft and pretty outside my room, and I felt like commemorating my lower belly’s last day as unmarked flesh. I love this photo because it reminds me that I can look and feel sexy even though I have love handles and a Buddha belly.

It also makes me smile that I chose to wear a red T-shirt specifically because I knew I was getting a red tattoo. Sartorial geekery forever!

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I took this with Bex and Penny just moments after we reunited at JFK airport in September. Our smiles really say it all: I adore these dorks. Friendship was a central theme of 2015 for me, and I’m so glad that lots of those happy moments were photographically documented.

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Speaking of friendship… Here’s me and Georgia eating a pizza that we tempted a boy to buy for us by sending him nude pictures and a short video of us making out. Industrious femmes 2015! We had been naked most of the evening; she only put her shirt back on so as to answer the door for the pizza delivery guy. We’re ridiculous.

 

imageYEESH, my makeup was on point this night. I got all dolled up for the Twilight edition of Drunk Feminist Films. Trying to lean into the vampire theme, I did a goth-y grey and black smoky eye and a blood-red lip.

Something I noticed this year was that I’m more inclined to get babed up for other women than I am for men. I adore men and there are lots of them who I want to impress, but let’s be real: most of them don’t appreciate great eyeshadow blending or a flawlessly crisp lipstick application. Femme beauty rituals are often cut down as being heteronormative attention-seeking behaviors, but the truth is, I do makeup to impress myself and other ladies, not dudes!

imageFunny how you can have good body image days and bad body image days, even as your body stays exactly the same. This was definitely a “loving my body” day. One of the main benefits of my weight gain over the last year is that my tits are way more glorious now than they used to be. Yay!

Also, can we talk about my phone case?! It’s from Redbubble and I love it unimaginable amounts. I used the heart-eyes emoji so much in 2015 that it grew to be like a positive mantra, and a symbol of the kind of attitude I want to cultivate toward everything in my life. It’s also lovely to have a little heart-eyed dude staring back at you in every mirror, as if to say: “What a BABE you are!!”

What were your fave selfies you took in 2015, my loves?