Posts Tagged ‘gender roles’


So goes the tagline of The Ashley Madison Agency, ‘the world’s premier discreet dating service’.

But really, what they mean don’t they, is life is long, so long. A marriage, a monogamous sexual relationship, can seem like it goes on forever and ever into the horizon of time. And one of the key reasons people have affairs is to break up the monotony, interrupt the never-ending trudge through life and love.


I only know about Ashley Madison, because more than one person has recently alerted me to the fact that there is someone with a profile on there, who goes by the name, Quiet Riot Girl. This means more than one person I know has a profile on Ashley Madison! I can assure you now that this QRG isn’t me. I wouldn’t go on a dating site specifically geared towards the concept of ‘having an affair’, and all the cliches that go along with that. Even the picture on the front page of the website is offputting, with its blurred image of a lusty lady in black lingerie, ravishing a handsome, topless man behind a standard issue hotel room door. This is old-fashioned adultery, Mills and Boon Style.  Not to mention the fact their ‘Affair Guarantee’  subscription costs a mind-boggling £250!! You could buy a session with a very accomplished sex worker for that. Or a stereo. Or a set of these …

This week I also saw a new book advertised, called Against Love, by Laura Kipnis. It defends ‘adultery’ against the impossible backdrop of the monogamous sexual relationship and deconstructs romantic love, particularly the kind which leads us into long term relationships (or LTRs as Internet Men like to call them).

‘Ever optimistic, heady with love’s utopianism’,  writes Kipnis, ‘most of us eventually pledge ourselves to unions that will, if successful, far outlast the desire that impelled them into being. The prevailing cultural wisdom is that even if sexual desire tends to be a short-lived phenomenon, nevertheless, that wonderful elixir “mature love” will kick in just in time to save the day, once desire flags’ . But she asks, is ‘cutting off other possibilities of romance and sexual attraction while there’s still some dim chance of attaining them in favor of the more muted pleasures of “mature love”  similar to voluntarily amputating a healthy limb?’

I don’t know if Against Love is any good but it would leave you a damn sight more change from £250 than the Ashley Madison Guaranteed Affair Package.

I have encountered many, many men looking for affairs, online. I have met some of them. I haven’t knowingly fucked any of them, though. Despite their cries of NO STRINGS ATTACHED and MUST BE DISCREET! and NOTHING SERIOUS! they have actually all put me off by being too needy, too conflicted, too fucked up. Some of them seem to think that if their partner found out they were contemplating fucking another woman (I suspect quite a few don’t actually put their money, or their dick, where their mouth is), the information would literally kill her.  In these cases I always hope that in fact she is doing the postman, and not giving a shit whether or not her fella discovers them at it on the dining room table, one night when he comes home from work. But that’s just me.

I met one such conflicted individual, a beautiful man with the deepest blue eyes I have ever seen, after performing webcam wanking for him a few times. It seemed we may aswell actually meet, after sharing something so, intimate (and for me that out of character, abstracted exhibitionism was surprisingly, sensuously intimate. He told me how amazing my cunt looked; nobody had told me that before). We went for a drink in the sunshine. I walked him back to his car. As I leaned against his strong, thick body, and started to feel a bulge in his trousers, as I caught my breath, just as I was about to let myself go, I spotted out of the corner of my eye, two tiny car seats in the back of his car. The ghosts of his children were watching and I could not go through with it (whatever ‘it’ was going to be).

I have also been ‘unfaithful’ myself. I wasn’t very discreet about it, though, because it was an act of calculated revenge, against a partner who was involved with someone else, a predator I was well aware of. I wanted my boyfriend to know and suffer like I was suffering, or what would be the point? All is fair in love and war. Looking back I regret being such a dickhead, and not trying to talk to my partner more frankly about the situation we found ourselves in. We might have been able to, I don’t know, have a more ‘open’ arrangement, instead of enacting some kind of Jackie Collins storyline. I also regret being a prize arsehole towards the guy I had the affair with. His very existence reminded me of my guilt, and I made it clear I resented him for that reminder, whilst fucking him all the same. But I don’t regret the actual sexual infidelity. The orgasms were too frequent and too delicious, the warmth and release of genuine mutually satisfying sex too real, for me to regret.

I am no fan of the myth of heterosexual monogamy. I cast no judgement on those who try, but fail to live within its chilly confines.  She who lives in a glass house, etc. But some men, when talking to me, as a potential ‘other woman’, come across so arrogant, so cocksure, as if their straying will boost their egos, score them some Man points, stick one to the bitch, that they rarely appeal to me. They also seem convinced that I am a certain type of woman, not the pure and therefore offensively unfulfilling type that lives with them (and not the type that would have any moral or ethical standards either). No, I am the Other, the desirable and at the same time undesirable, the deviant and therefore unloveable whore. So the last thing I want to do is have sex with them, not for free, anyway.

Suck a lie with a hole in it. Paranoia for lunch. Guilt, a sick, green tint… Carol Ann Duffy may be the Queen’s Official Poet Laureate, a respectable role indeed, penning odes to footballers’ injuries and hung parliaments, but she also knows a thing or two about Adultery  , and not, I believe, from the ‘innocent victim’s’ point of view either. Though it is worth remembering that so does David Beckham and his achilles, and so do many politicians, not to mention members of the royal family! If Prince Charles, gawky heir to the throne, couldn’t keep his trousers on, married to the beautiful, starry-eyed people’s princess, how were the rest of us mortals, tethered to much less incandescent beings, supposed to remain moral and upstanding?

TS Eliot was right. Life is very long. (Between the desire and the spasm, between the potency and the existence, between the essence and the event falls the shadow…)

It seems even longer, and harder to endure, when we turn it into a test of our virtues, or a punishment for our (or our lovers’) sins. Ashley Madison Agency is a lying, cheating dog, full of false  promises and cheap, empty hotel rooms. There are never any guarantees. Just all these sweet moments strung together: pearls on a princess’s necklace. Why turn them sour? Why pay for the privilege?

As Elizabeth Jennings has pleaded, so I echo her plea:  life’s a delight: each of us a joy, whether in or out of love. No-one should ever be used for use, was what I was thinking of.

Ah, machismo. It is such a pretty word, for such an ugly thing. Imagine it, spoken softly in a lilting Italian brogue, with a sigh, by a devestatingly beautiful, pensive woman. Look at her sat, frowning on the steps of her villa, surrounded by the most picturesque countryside in the world, pondering the sadness of her life. Consider all the men that have come and gone through her body, that have looked in her eyes and not seen her, that have fucked her, over and over and over, but never fucked her, not really. That have drunk all her wine, talked and talked and talked at her, sometimes rasing their hands to her perfect porcelain face. And then fucked off into the Tuscan night. Ah, machismo mi amore.

I have been seduced by macho men before. Not the stereotypical ones, the giveaways with builders bums and stella burps. The ones that call me ‘darlin’ and shout about ‘that bitch’ the wife. And not the suave ones either, the ones that know how to make their moves on women, that wear thick silver watches and talk about business in loud voices. Who spend their evenings on the prowl looking for whores. Or worse. They are too obvious. But I have been seduced all the same.

And I never realise till it is too late.

Once he said it was like ‘fucking a corpse’.

Once or more than once, the ego of a man nearly toppled me over flat onto my face.

Once, once when his foot was in my back and I was on the floor, that’s when I got it, finally.

Once, once I was sucking his cock and he was calling me his whore and for a moment I didn’t know if it was real or a game.

Once, or more than once, a man has looked at me with such contempt that I have wanted  to kill him.

Once, sat in my parents’ living room, the policeman taking the statement asked, ‘how do you spell misogyny?’

Once, or more than once, a man has groped me right in the cunt, hard. And laughed.

Once, the room went black. I had to go to hospital.

And I never realise till it is too late.

So maybe I have turned to gay men as a way of escaping machismo. Especially those aesthetic, philosophical, sensitive gay types.   Think of a gay intellectual and what kind of picture springs to mind? Even now, knowing what I know, I imagine  a beautiful, slightly effete man, tall and svelte, well dressed, a relaxed but fragile air. I think of Isherwood, strolling round Berlin, or E.M. Forster sat in his study. Or Foucault, gesticulating frantically that electric wildness lighting up his eyes. (Though sometimes I can’t help but imagine someone like this) There are some beautiful, bright, sensitive queer thinkers, still, hiding in the shadows. But there are also macho fags. You don’t think of gay men as macho do you, not even the big, butch, hunks of manlove. Especially not them really, for butch is nearly always drag, or an over-compensation for a lack. Macho fags exist. I have felt their hatred.

Academia is full of machismo (and, in some corridors, gay men). The peer review process is a form of  macho posturing, the cockerels, the bulls  in the ring, fighting for glory. Have you ever been to an academic conference? It’s not unlike a boxing match. But without the sex and violence, just the stale smell of alcohol, tired cliches and heavyweight egos, fighting it out in front of a dozing crowd. Deleuze calls his appropriation and interpretation of other philosophers’ work ‘buggery: enculage’. He fucks his heroes up the arse. Just to make a point, to overpower them. Poor Derrida, Poor Baudrillard, they don’t look like they want to be taken from behind so mercilessly by this young upstart. He’s sat there in his ivory tower, waving his French, rhizomatic gay cock in our faces.

And I never realise till it is too late.

That bastard, that fucker who buggered my boy and his friends, he was an academic and an intellectual. He wouldn’t let anyone call him ‘fag’ (or turn him into one, you know how). He didn’t identify as gay. But he made sure he was surrounded by young, handsome, adoring acolytes, that he could impress with his archaeology of knowledge, as he dug and dug and plundered their arses for his pleasure and his power.

I used to look up to Mr Fuck Theory. He is another gay man of letters. Why do I always fall for them? An American college lecturer, he uses a blog to deconstruct philosophy with a wave of his magic wand, producing post-modern aphorisms on sex and gender: a Foucault for the internet generation. History of Sexuality, Dude. I couldn’t get enough. But he was just one more macho fag, waving his cock around, ‘philosophising with a hammer’ as he calls it, hammering home the metaphor. He took every opportunity to remind everyone he was a ‘top’, and he didn’t enjoy being challenged by a little woman.  He likes to fuck theory, you see, not to get fucked intellectually (is it, according to these gay thinkers, physiologically impossible to be a bottom (or a girl) and to have a brain?). It’s his way of dominating, a form of control.

And I never realise till it is too late.

Men have always had trouble accepting homosexuality, especially their own. The  historical perception was that men who buggered other men were free from accusations of being homosexual, whilst those who got buggered were branded as queer, homo, fags. This macho myth is shown to persist, not just among many straight people, but also in ‘other places’, such as within Latino culture  or the Balkan States as depicted in Suck My Nation . But here in the New Gay World where gay men are free to be who they are, to drink in their own bars, to shop at Waitrose, to get hitched, they are all supposed to be equal, no matter whose ass is getting pounded.  But I have a hunch that the hierarchical gendered dichotomy between top and bottom, fucker and sucker, Man and Bitch, is also still alive and well, even in the condos of Canal Street, the bistros of Williamsburgh, the Oyster stalls of Borough Market. Some of my Gay brothers are starting to look worryingly straight round the edges.

We all play power games in sex. Everyone needs something to push against. Sexual inequality is as inevitable and reassuring as Newton’s Third Law.  But standing here, facing forwards, my back to the wall, I want to take these fuckers on. (Are you with me, bitches?) I don’t like these hard men who, no matter how ‘gay’ they may admit to being,  think, deep down, even when their dick is in your mouth,or you are bending over like a good piece of fuckmeat,  that the worst thing a person could be in this world is a cock sucker, an arse-giver, or, even worse than that, a woman.  They are the macho fags of this world.

And I never realise till it is too late.

I am the matador, brandishing the red rag to the bull, and then trying to duck at the last minute; I am the nail that thinks it will be the one clever enough to avoid the hammer’s blow; I am that senorita, sitting, sighing on the steps of her villa.  Ah, machismo, mi amore. I want you dead.

Stiletto Rage

Posted: September 18, 2010 in Feminism, Kink
Tags: ,

Arguing about gender roles is something I love to do. I have realised that I particularly enjoy doing it with dominant men, even when I am within striking distance. Foolish maybe, but I cannot help myself.

A typical argument might go along these lines:

Him:’I would like to see you in stilettos and a tight pencil skirt’.

Me:’That’s such a fucking cliche. Why does the collective imagination of all the male dominants in the world get reduced to a woman in heels and a revealing outfit?’

Him:’Because it looks good. And you would be restricted and exposed at the same time’.

Me: ‘It’s not fucking fair. Women submissives have to fit into this cliched stereotype of femininity in order to fulfil their need to be submissive. And I am a feminist and it makes me angry to be forced into a role I have been resisting all my life’.

Him: ‘Oh good. So you might find it humiliating as well. Excellent’.

Me: ‘GGGrrr. That’s not the point. Why can’t men think of other ways to objectify women apart from the ways they are already objectified in society?’

Him: ‘Shut up and put those shoes on, bitch’.

I am currently reading  Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida , his collection of photographs and essays that examines the personal impact and semiotics of photography. It was inspired by a photograph of Barthes’ mother as a child, which affected him deeply, looking at it after she died. It is Barthes’ final and most personal work, in which he places himself very firmly in the centre of the frame. The book has led me to think about how we tell our own stories, and why it is so important, particularly in relation to sexual identity.

I have read many personal accounts from women about  sexual identity, and I have written my own. But I think there is still a lot more to learn about how men perceive themselves and others, particularly those they have sex with.  I am not for example convinced our  ‘modern homosexual’ exists as universally as we may think.  Telling personal stories and conducting personal research, I believe, is one important way we can uncover the complexities of how sexuality and identity functions, and is also a way of breaking down (hetero) normative structures and assumptions.

So, I have been searching for a long time, for writing about men’s sexual identities, where the authors, like Barthes in Camera Lucida,  also place themselves in the centre of the frame. Suddenly, almost spookily, I have found a few amazing examples almost all at once. Like a group of rent boys standing in the main square, huddled over cigarettes, that could be mistaken for lads out on the town, they were there all along.  I just didn’t see the signs.

In Suck My Nation , S A Lambevski, a researcher based in Australia, goes back to  Macedonia in the late 1990s. There he conducts an insightful and moving ‘queer ethnography’ of men’s (homo)sexual identities and how they intersect with ethnicity and class, in a place of great upheaval and (gendered) conflict. His research is triggered by a painful memory of returning home, and visiting a ‘marginal, dark place’ on the edge of town, the centre for ‘gay’ cruising, where Macedonian and Albanian men would brush shoulders uncomfortably and cast instant damning judgement on each other, based on the badges of identity they wear on their skin, their clothes, their demeanours.  Canal Street it is not. (Though I’d like to read an ethnography of Canal Street!)

Queer Ethnography does not have to be academic. American writer  Steven Zeeland has been putting himself in the centre of the frame for years, in his writings about the sexual habits and identities of military men.  I can’t wait to read his work in full, in which he combines interviews with soldiers, sailors and marines (many of whom he has had sex with and known intimately), with observations and other research. Zeeland says that ‘sexual identity is a joke’. I am inclined to agree with him, but, as his work seems to show (from the little I have read so far), it is a joke that needs unpacking, because of how deeply it permeates how we define who we are, based on who we have sex with and how we have sex.

Queer ethnography can also be historical, reminding us that the ‘pre-modern’ versions of homosexuality did not just suddenly transform overnight into the modern gay man we see strutting down The Mission in his Moschinos. Change is messy and boundaries between eras are blurred. Justin Spring in a new book, tells the incredible story of Samuel Steward , the ‘secret historian’ and 20th century  ‘sexual renegade’ who lived a creative life full of homosexual adventures, before the modern ‘gay’ had come into being.  ‘He paid the price for being himself’ Spring said, ‘but at least he got to be himself’.

But here I am going to come back up to date, and  feature another homo-ethnographic piece I have just discovered, taken from a longer post called The Business Of Sex about an American man working mainly as a Pimp  in Europe in the 21st century. The author,  Homo Superior hasn’t blogged for a while now, which is regrettable. This is ‘queer ethnography’ at its most visceral, its most honest.  I think that in Camera Lucida, Barthes is saying that for us to improve our understanding of ourselves and the world, the writer, like the beautiful young man in the photo at the top of the page,  needs to stare straight into the lens. Homo Superior and all these queer ethnographers, certainly do just that.

I Wanna Hold Your…

I woke up this morning with Jirka next to me holding my hand; well, actually he had one finger hooked around one of mine and as we both drifted in and out of sleep, he alternately massaged my neck or laid his hand on my side or my leg. As the light got brighter coming in through the open windows he turned toward me, curled his body inward tilting his head toward mine; so I turned toward him and we laid there hands lightly clasped until he got up and made coffee 20 minutes later. He never said a word nor opened his eyes. We both acted embarrassed and were quiet until after the first cup.


I’ve had my dick in his ass, both with and without a condom, in his mouth, and his in mine; we’ve made out for a half hour or more (at least we used to), in public and at home; we’ve danced drunkenly to slow Czech dance music in U Rudolfa and Chameleon, held hands chatting and drinking Gambrinus in Club Stella while the gay boys all around talked about us, I’m sure thinking he was bought and paid for; and yet that tentative expression of intimacy this morning blushed my cheeks and subdued his usual early morning chatter.

I don’t know whether we’ve reached some turning point or what. He’s told me more than once that he considers me his family now that he’s estranged from his freeloading brother — his other brother’s in jail and he has no other family, according to him. He’s Romany so I never know when he’s telling stories. Regardless, we share expenses and distribute money when the other one needs it. I accompany him to Pinocchio’s (perhaps the best known hustler bar in Prague) because he says he feels more confident when I’m there. To people observing our developing friendship, not just to me, it appears that we are committed to one another.

On the other hand, he has a girlfriend now and it has curtailed our sex play. I’ve enjoyed up to now the very easy-going way he approaches sex. When he wants a blow job he just states: “Riki, please, go oral!” When he’s feeling like getting fucked him he asks: “Go sex?” and then giggles. I just have to say: “Jiři, I’m horny” and his response is usually to grin and head for the shower for a douche. The straightforward nature of our sex seems to be just another reinforcement of the friendship, as well as a very convenient way of relieving tension and getting affection, but it’s not at the top of his needs hierarchy. That is, he likes it but can live without it, especially now with consistent pussy in the picture. I don’t blame him. When your job is to have sex with strange men it has to have some effect on your other sexual relationships. For me, however… I’ve been telling myself for the last several months it was purely physical (he fulfills about 90% of the qualities in a lover I find attractive); however, that little hand-holding interlude this morning made me realize I’m in love with him.

I should have known already by the surprising jealousy that arose in me the other day at Rudolfa when a preening blond Czech boy at another table caught his eye. “Ty vole, Riki, looking this boy I have big penis,” and here he put his palm on his crotch and moved it up 20 cm. “Stoh percent I am bee-sexual.”

“I know that already, Jirka.”

And sure enough when I reached over to check out his bulge he had a hard-on. He then borrowed 5 crowns to go stand by the boy at the jukebox and chat him up; but not before readjusting his package. I wasn’t livid but it irrationally made me sad. I knew then exactly what his type was: younger feminine gay boys, transvestites and transsexuals, all of whom he’s said on numerous occasions he’s wanted to fuck; and I am anything but that type. I guess I should be grateful though because with me he’s an exclusive bottom.

A couple weeks back he asked me if he thought that the sex biznis could make him gay. I said no, that I knew plenty of hetero rent boys that didn’t enjoy the sex per se and for whom it was just business. I named a couple of guys he knew.

“Ano, ano,” he nodded his head. “But I like the sex.”

“Yes, I know,” I replied.

“Občas,” he quickly added, meaning sometimes.

“Well, I’m gay and sometimes I don’t like it either. Depends on the boy.”

“Pravda (Truth),” he concluded.

So I know what I mean when I say I love him and when I hold his hand or kiss him good night or gasp in worship when I’m sucking on his soft brown foreskin; but, what does he mean and what was he trying to tell me today?

h/t Matt Lodder

‘There are just rather more straight men than gay men – and I find they make much better bottoms….’

I read this sentence on the ‘bottom half of the internet’, that murky underworld that is filled, not quite in equal measure, with a mixture of incomprehensible gibberish, mundanity and real insight into the human condition. It resonated so strongly with me, that I wanted to virtually stand up and point at it, like people on comments sections do sometimes, and scream THIS!  in capitals. I am not that expert in internet memes, but, OMG! Fuck. Yes.

I am a heterosexual woman. I have realised, after demonstrating my capacity for masochism – physical, emotional and psychological- with quite impressive consistency in all my relationships with men, that I too inhabit the  ‘bottom half’, not of the internet (though I do quite like it down there too), but of the psycho-sexual power dynamic, that impacts on all our relationships, whether consciously or otherwise.

I have things to say about this realisation, about the brief, sweet, ecstatic, relief of finally acknowledging that if I have been getting hurt throughout my sexual history, this is in part at least, because I want to get hurt.  And oh it can hurt so good. I also have things to say about the ‘come-down’ from my first S and M high, the ‘drop’. The drop that nobody told me would just keep dropping on my analytical, reflective, ‘feminist’ (and I think that word has some vestiges of  meaning left here) head. Heterosexual M/f  S and M? With no political, psychological, emotional, gendered fall-out? Forget it.

I think two case studies might actually help to describe my experience much better than any attempt at analysis. They speak for themselves. These are two men I met over the course of the last few years. I am calling them Mr Gay and Mr Gayer. And you will see why.

Case Study #1: Mr Gay

I met Mr Gay on a ‘blind date’ via the internet. We had chatted quite a bit online. He was a kinky fucker, and I was drawn to his dominant style of communication. We had amazing phone sex in which we relayed quite intense fantasy scenarios to each other, and I said words out loud I had never uttered before, like ‘yes sir’. and ‘your whore’. Once we came simultaneously, which I think is quite an achievement.

We met in Manchester as I’d got tickets for a gig. He was suitably …intense. He pushed against me in the lift from the car park, making me wonder if he was going to take me right there. But he didn’t.

On the way I had to pick up keys to my mate’s flat where we were staying, from a bar in ‘Gay Village’. As we approached Canal St,  I could sense Mr Gay getting more tentative in his steps. At the entrance to the bar he stopped and refused to enter. I was speechless. So I left him at the canalside, fetched the keys and returned to a pale-faced ghost. Was he actually scared that he would be bummed on the spot by a bunch of poofs drinking cocktails and listening to Kylie? As we walked to the gig I felt my hard-on soften and die in my knickers.

The night never really recovered. He managed to grab me in the corridor back at the flat. He spanked me, naked, over his knee. I tried to make it happen. But deep down I knew it was a lost cause. When it finally came to it, his attempt at fucking me was… adolescent? clumsy? I have blotted it out of my brain. Basically his dick didn’t make it into my cunt. I never saw or heard from him again. I hope he met a big butch boy, who buggered him senseless like he secretly wished.

Case Study #2 Mr Gayer

Mr Gayer is a writer.  He is married, but hey, these are modern times, and modern marriages have to go with the flow. I met him in a bar in London’s Gay East End. The first thing I noticed about him was that he was ‘cute’. Not just in appearance, but in demeanour. He had a bit of a coy look about him. All my usual anxiety about meeting strange dominant men, who might do whatever they wanted with me, completely disappeared. We talked about Foucault, and feminism, and porn, and sex. He agreed to take part in a writing project.

The piece I received back was the one I alluded to earlier, in my post Buggery in the Rain . It was called ‘Flaccid’. I won’t quote it here. I have not received permission. Though I think I have earned the rights… It stated how this (not exclusively but mainly) ‘toppy’ hetero man, who has fucked and fisted and buggered and bitten and bondaged his way through the female kink community of London, or if he is to be believed, the western world, can’t take it up the arse. He described trying strap-on play with women, and every time, losing his wood. No matter how pretty they were, or how big their tool.

Now, I can’t be sure. But a sweet looking, coy, kinky, boyish man, who reads Foucault and Bataille, and, er, Mark Gay Simpson, who falls, flaccid, at the first hurdle when the suggestion of sodomy, by a woman, is made, who didn’t seem to have any interest whatsoever in asserting any dominance over me, who actually seemed a little bit scared of my…. dick.  I still call ‘Mr Gayer’ with some confidence. I hope he too, finds a real cock to sodomise his gay arse as he secretly, or not so secretly desires.

It takes a bottom to know one. And I have encountered quite a few straight bottoms in my time. Whether it was before, or after, I consciously acknowledged my own desire for someone to  slap me on the patio. I’ll take it now. Except I probably won’t. Because the tops are the bottoms and the straights are the gays, and when they refer to  S and M as ‘falling down the rabbit hole’ they couldn’t be more appropriate. For everything is upside-down and back-to-front. It is enough to melt poor Alice’s head. And sometimes, just sometimes, she wants to get the hell out, and find a way back to daylight, back to where power is hidden, and violence is non-consensual, and pain, pain is so very real.

I don’t mean that. Except, some days, like today,  I do.