25 July 2010

Goings On

Again, maybe I should look at what I wrote last before I start typing away.

Okay. So it's only been a week since I last wrote. There are two things of interest to talk about, completely unrelated.

On the PhD front, there has been some unfortunate developments. Or rather, one unfortunate development in particular that is causing me a lot of stress. To keep the explanation short, basically, when I started my PhD, there was another student starting at the same time with the same remit and the same industrial partner. Now from the start, I was told (as I imagine he was as well) that there was plenty of scope for two topics within the broad subject heading, and that one person would probably focus on the London Estate (historic, urban, architectural) and one person would focus on new build (technological). With my architectural background and his engineering background, it was always talked about that I would do something with the existing building stock and he was particularly interested in Liverpool One. However, in the past couple of weeks he has completely changed his thinking around to basically parallel my own topic development to the point where we are basically talking about researching the same thing.

This makes me upset for many reasons. Firstly, this will not be possible. A PhD must be original work and you cannot have two students doing the same basic project, using the same case studies, etc. Secondly, I'm annoyed because I feel this was my idea first and he has sort of stolen it. But I don't think he would see it that way. In fact, I know he wouldn't. I know that he wouldn't acknowledge that he's been influenced by my discussion and interests and this also makes me intensely angry.

Two weeks ago I raised this issue with our supervisor. There really wasn't anything else I could do. She took it on board, but I think she doesn't actually know enough about the building industry to see that our topics are actually turning out the same. She focused on the fact that our background thinking in support of the final topic is entirely different. Which is true, but you still can't end up in the same place.

At any rate, being the typical non-political person I can be, I sort of accidentally said something to people I know at my industrial partner who have now taken a keen interest in us not having duplicate research topics. But I didn't bring it up to them because I was trying to cause trouble- it was more that I was talking about how my topic was developing and they were asking about how A's topic was developing and it just came out. I feel this is detrimental to the development of the issue but now that the cat is out of the bag, I have no idea how to put it back in.

So not only am I concerned that this is somehow not going to go well for me and my own work will be not allowed or I won't be given the topic I want, but I am also concerned that I've screwed something up and have made a big mistake or faux pas and this will somehow reflect badly on me.

There isn't much else I can do about it now. All I can do is develop my topic as I've set it out and hope that when the shit hits the fan, I'm going to be the one with a strong enough case to continue and not the other way around.

In a completely unrelated area of life, date 3 with L went well. We met up by Leicester Square after work on Friday, then wandered off to get a couple of drinks, then wandered off to get some food, then on to a different bar for a drink until they closed, then onto another bar for a drink until they closed. As we were close to leaving the second to last bar, some kissing started going on. This was continued at the final bar, and then taken out onto the street. I was entirely thankful that he's taller than me as I felt sheltered- seeing that kissing in the street makes me feel incredibly self conscious. Well, for that matter, so does kissing in bars. At any rate, it was around 2 or 2:30 in the morning and the inevitable discussion of 'what happens next' came up. And as per usual, I had my deer in headlights moment. I could envision any number of possibilities- ones where we parted ways, ones where I went to his, ones where he came to mine. And I couldn't see that any one stood out as a better idea than any other creating complete immobility and indecisiveness. As usual.

Except this time there was no H to make me do anything. Eventually I decided that a reasonable option I could get on board with was to come back to my place (as my flatmate is away, I'd be more comfortable in my own house) and set a limit before we went that although I was quite happy for us to fool around and 'sleep' together, there would be no sex that evening. For me this was a safe option, and at the same time, stretching the bounds of how I would usually act, so I thought good. He agreed at any rate, and so off we went to catch a night bus.

Back at my place, as suggested, the fooling around continued and eventually we moved from lounge to bedroom and while more clothes were removed in the process, it was alright because sex was not on the table. In fact it was better than alright, it was lots of fun and enjoyable and exciting. I think it was getting light out by the time we tried to properly sleep. I forgot to turn my alarm off so it went off at 7, I turned it off. I want to say we got up around 11, but I don't think we really got up until 1. Showered, went and got some food, then returned to my house and back to bed. Fool around a bit, cuddle, snooze, repeat. All good. Eventually such things have to end of course, so at 8:30 at night, he left my house to head back to his and we have tentative plans to meet up next weekend.

So this part, is so far all good. Of course there are questions. I never get fully on board with someone until I know them better, and can trust them. We are definitely getting to know each other, but dating can be so contrived- it's just a slow process. But again, so far so good and I am interested in continuing to get to know him. He's intriguing to me which is probably a good sign. Not my usual type necessarily, but I also know that my physical feelings towards someone develop completely alongside my getting to know them and my emotional attachment. So it's interesting to me that he's different from my usual attraction, but clearly not so different that it puts me off at all, I suppose it's just something I think about.

Now for some complications.

Part of the reason he left at 8:30 is that I said I was going to a party and my friend H was picking me up at 9. Now, this was true- but I was omitting that the 'party' was actually a bdsm club, and that the people I was going to be seeing were likely to be getting in various stages of naked with each other, touching each other, tying each other up, and also beating up on each other a bit. Oh yeah, and that I'd be doing that stuff too.

See, I met L on a vanilla dating site. My profile isn't entirely vanilla. There are clues. There are pretty obvious clues if you know what you're looking for. But what if you don't? And even if you do- if you don't know anything about bdsm sub culture, you may not have any clue to the extent to which someone could be involved in things. And these days, I'm kind of involved in things. To illustrate this point, and detour the story, last night was also loads of fun at the club. The other couple showed up and I tied her up and then tied her to a bench, then me and her husband abused and teased her for a while, which was entirely enjoyable. Then later in the evening I was made a kind offer by G for a bit of a beating and I thought a bit of a beating would be entirely nice so he got me up on a cross and did some flogging and single tailing and something else that I can only describe as a collection of bound flat sticks which I'm sure has a name but I don't know it (closest I can find is midway down this page, the bamboo birch rod). It wasn't overly dramatic by way of beatings and I don't have any bruising- just a few reddish marks today. At any rate, at various points in the evening I was showing far more skin than I've ever shown in the past, and just having a really good time with people I've gotten to know well in the past year. Fun.

But fucking hell. How am I going to bring this up in conversation? I am quite possibly in danger of scaring someone off- a position I never really considered before. But then I have to ask myself- how much of this can I actually give up? Or how much do I want to give up? I have certainly run into problems with pure vanilla dating in the past- mainly because my most submissive tendencies exhibit themselves in my sexual self. I tend to not be sexually aggressive or the instigator- even when I really want contact. Once I'm given the go ahead by my partner, I can go ahead full steam, but I don't tend to make that move first. So I've had people in the past be annoyed because they thought my lack of initiative meant I didn't want it, or they were just annoyed that they were always initiating. So there's that potential issue. And then there's the whole eroticism of pain thing. I like a bit of pain mixed up with my pleasure. I like to suffer for my partner. It seriously turns me on. Not every time and all the time perhaps, but certainly some of the time. I don't think this is something I can just so easily get rid of.

I suppose if someone I'm interested in is so completely against it, then what that means is that we aren't suited to one another. But as much as I accept that, this is also going to make me feel freakish and unnatural. I mean, I know it's a minority thing and I'm not alone in this (and certainly not the most extreme), but I dread that potential issue.

I don't know. For the first time since really exploring this side of myself and reveling in it, I now actually feel it's a possible hindrance.

Or of course I could be worrying about nothing. A couple times during our extended fooling around day he pinned me down to the bed rather nicely. But I'll be the first to admit it's a long way from that, to nipple clamps, gags, and floggers, you know?

Of course I know that this is all just really early stages and time will tell. I just wish I had a better idea of how to bring it up. Or when to bring it up. Or how he'll take it of course. That would be very useful to know.

Anyway. That's the most interesting things that happened this week. Hopefully it will all turn out well and for the best.

19 July 2010


I didn't even check to see what the last thing I wrote was. I know time has passed again. I'm in Cambridge at the moment. My new split life is good but also bad. I spend 2 nights out of 7 commuting. This leaves me with 2 nights in Cambridge and 3 nights in London for socializing and catching up with people. To be fair, I am much more focused on the London people as in Cambridge I don't know that many people yet. So really what I'm saying is, every week instead of 7 nights to play with I only have 3 and it's hard to find time to schedule with people and also it's tiring all this back and forth.

Although I do really enjoy it. I like what I'm doing and it's interesting. Although time is flying by at an alarming rate and I feel like I have not accomplished particularly much. This is actually not one hundred percent true and I have done a lot, it's just that research is a much slower process with a lot less to show for it as opposed to you know, drawing things.

My skin is not doing well. I thought it was all on the mend but it seems to have taken a backslide. I'm now again considering trying to get an appointment with my GP so I can get a referral to a dermatologist. I know that there's no real cure or solution, but I hope for some new cream or other lotion that will force it into some sort of submission. It seems to respond less and less to what I'm doing, and this is no good.

The past few weeks have had some highs and lows. Had a fairly significant argument with a friend that really upset me. It isn't particularly resolved, or rather, they aren't particularly resolved and aside from getting their way, they haven't a clue as to how else to resolve a disagreement and so we are at a stalemate. However, I'm so strung out by the length of this situation at this point that it's hard to care as it's just made me incredibly angry for a very long time. I care in that, I don't want this to happen, but I don't care in that, if someone can't see reason or act in a reasonable fashion, then it is not my responsibility if I feel I have done so.

Went to a Peer Rope event, the last at the current location and possibly the last for some time. That was a lot of fun. I have some nice bruises still on my arms from a particularly feisty struggle. And that's now over a week ago! Ha. This girl on the train yesterday must have gone to play paintball as she had these perfectly round bruises all over her and then was of course wearing this little cute sun dress thing. I was absolutely fascinated by the bruises, but I still think paintball for me is a step too far.

Had a quasi date with a guy I had a date with a couple of weeks ago. We have planned a more proper date for this Friday. I cannot get overly excited about anything dating wise, but he seems cool and I'd really like to get to know him better to see how it all goes. On the one hand I'm hopeful it goes well, but I'm equally aware of the potential for it to be nothing, hence my lack of excitement either way. Still, so far so good- and at the moment that's all that really matters.

Last bit of excitement is that I'm planning a camping trip for my birthday. As most of my friends are not around, me and H are taking her horse and a horsebox and our bikes and stuff down to the new forest and camping we shall go. I know that it's completely not in keeping with anything about my personality as most people who know me know that I really don't like the outdoors, but I'm ridiculously excited about going camping. Plus a cute little town and beaches are only 4 miles away, and the new forest is right on the doorstep. So hopefully the weather will hold and a good time will be had by all.

Not much else coming to mind. I'm sure there are other things. I know in fact, that there are other things, but my computer is running out of battery and maybe I should try to get some sort of work accomplished today.