Confession #39 – The Art of Soaking and Toking

Pairing marijuana with soaking is like the paint and sip trend so popular today.  These painters are trained by a professional on important skills such as how to mix colors and use different brush strokes.  Like the artists in their classroom creating masterpieces while getting drunk, a beginner soaker needs to learn how to successfully marry the soaking process while getting high.

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As a master soaker/stoner I have an assortment of tactics to elevate your hot spring experience to greater heights.  These strategies can apply to those who do not infuse THC into their bathing experience.  Although why you wouldn’t is beyond me.

  1.  Unless you are visiting a weed friendly hot spring (and if you are, please tell me where it is), you will need to smoke your bowl or joint just before pulling up to the parking lot.  I’m not an advanced stoned driver so I advocate smoking it when you only have about 200 feet to actually drive.
  2. Once parked, eat your edible before getting out of the car.  If you plan to stay only two hours, eat enough to get you high but not too much that you’ll be peaking when you’re ready to leave.  If you have conned someone into being a designated driver, eat as much as you like.
  3. Keep your car keys in an easy to remember place.  I keep mine in the zipped front pocket of my backpack.  EVERY TIME.
  4. Before going, check if there is a water cooler, fridge or microwave – cotton mouth and munchies are inevitable.
  5. Have your snacks prepared and easily accessible.  I bring a small cooler or lunch bag and keep it next to my lounge chair.
  6. Speaking of snacks, make sure you bring the crunchy/salty kind and chocolate.  During my last outing, I brought two kinds of Doritos and had an in-depth taste test with my friend.  Later, the peanut butter and chocolate granola bars hit the sweet spot.
  7. Keep a water bottle within reach while you are in the hot spring. Soaking can be dehydrating and see strategy #4.
  8. Take your pee break every time you get out of the hot spring.  Do not read into this to mean I expect you to pee in the hot spring.  What I mean is, don’t take a break and then go back into the spring without making a pit stop.  Trust me, just as you start to relax in the water, you’ll need to pee and not want to get out.
  9. Don’t be stingy with towels.  Bring at least two – one to dry off with at your lounge chair and another to dry off with before changing into your clothing.  If you have one, bring a terry cloth robe.  Those who don’t have one will be jealous of you.
  10. Even in winter wear sunscreen and hat.  As a mother I am obligated to say this.
  11. Don’t bring your cell phone in.  If it’s a clothing optional hot spring you won’t be allowed to, but even if it’s not, you’re supposed to be disconnecting.
  12. If you have an easy to blow up raft, bring it.  When you are high, having a raft that would require a pump would be dangerous and you’ll never stop laughing enough to actually blow it up.  The raft keeps you in the water but buoyant so that you never get too hot.  It also keeps you from having to hold yourself up.
  13. Floating on noodles is an option but a raft is preferable, especially in clothing optional hot springs. It acts as a barrier when you bump into naked people while you aimlessly float.
  14. Clothing optional hot springs will make you feel better about yourself.  There will always be at least one other person there who is fatter than you.
  15. This may cause a bit of contention but…please don’t bring your children to my happy place.

Perhaps soaking and toking is not only an art but also a science.  I hope intersection of the artistic process and scientific method inspire you to become a master soaker/stoner.

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Confession #38 – Did She Say All Heterosexual Sex is Rape?

At first I misunderstood the premise of Andrea Dworkin’s book “Intercourse” to mean heterosexual sex is rape. I fell into the trap of believing her critics without reading the book myself. But when I finally did read it, I was angry how reviewers mislead the public into thinking she insisted all intercourse between a man and a woman is rape.

It was 1994 and I was working as an English teacher for a technical college in Thailand when I began to read the book. Being a feminist there was difficult at times. When I asked the director of the college where I could learn traditional Thai boxing, he suggested I take a cooking class instead. Before traveling through Asia during school break, I shaved off my hair for two reasons. 1) I’d be staying in hostels without hot water and didn’t want the trouble of taking care of my hair and 2) I didn’t want to be hassled by men in the predominantly Muslim areas of Indonesia. Long hair is feminine and beautiful. A shaved head gave me an androgynous look . I navigated through Sumatra indistinguishable from a teenage boy — camouflaged by my peach fuzz head and oversized t-shirts.

As the final date for my service overseas approached, I finished her polemic about sex in a male dominated society. I understood her position to be that the power dynamics in a patriarchal society creates a construct in which sexual relations between men and women are not egalitarian. It’s about taking the power privilege into the bedroom.

When I returned to New Jersey in 1995, I decided the personal is political and I would not be destined to inferiority through intercourse with a man. I wasn’t interested in sex with women so abstinence was my only salvation. My convictions made it easy. Plus, the fact I didn’t shave my legs or armpits deterred men from flirting with me. My parents chastised me for not shaving, saying I’d never get a date because I didn’t fit in. I didn’t care though. I would live a life according to my beliefs or I would be living a lie.

My outlook on sex softened when I started dating after about a year of celibacy. I enjoyed men’s company and fantasized about them. It had been so long and I became curious about how consensual meaningful sex could physically feel. I was still a feminist and always will be, but I wondered if heterosexual sex has to necessarily feel like a violation as a woman.

I was angry about the inequities between the sexes. I dwelled on the advantages men had as physical beings, using their strength to manipulate situations. I ruminated about the advantages given to them in our culture just for having an XY chromosome pair. But I wanted to remove the political from my personal life. I swear it wasn’t about being horny. In fact, over time, desire waned and abstinence was easy.

I wanted a connection with man. I didn’t need to infuse a political statement in my sex life. I could be in control in the bedroom. For that matter, I could give up control and not feel violated. I took Andrea Dworkin’s words to heart and learned a lesson about myself. As a feminist, I would never stop challenging the status quo or forget the sacrifices feminist pioneers made for our future. I also defend Dworkin’s insights into how broken male/female relationships can be and her quest to uphold the dignity of women.

I am glad I came full circle and eventually created sexual relationships that harmonize with my essence and worldview.2000px-Feminism_symbol.svg