Tuesday, March 25, 2008

a pause.

Trying to get some actual writing done for once. Will be back on April 8th [hit me], or shortly after, or rather sooner if I give up.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Fancults!

As promised. And what better way to conflate religion with fandom than to look at religions that have come out of fandom?

There's three honest-to-$deity religions which are sourced from sci-fi fandoms. Scientology is the most notorious; Gor is also pretty clear-cut, though it's not always referred to as a religion. Then there's the ParatheoAnametamystikhood Of Eris Esoteric Discordianism. It may be a religion disguised as a joke disguised as a religion, or it may be a joke disguised as a religion disguised as a joke. It began with the Principia Discordia and its followers, but was spread by the psychadelic conspiracy epic, ILLUMINATUS!, a book which is as canonical to Discordianism as it's possible for anything to be.

Meanwhile, the Lovecraft fandom has produced the mother of all religious hoaxes in spite of the author being an atheist. (Someone at the Weird Symposium described Lovecraft's world as being a sci-fi speculation based on Darwin and the emergence of atheism. Hm).


Then there's fandom out of religion, a topic which popped up on LJMQ today with winning timing wrt Christian fanfic. The Arthurian mythos is another tangle, though it seems to be moving in the opposite direction - scads and scads of stories first (stories that were steeped in Christianity anyway), and now you meet pagans who incorporate it into their religious beliefs - or insert the myths into a made-up English history that has it that their newborn religion is really thousands of years old. (Many of these people believe Stonehenge and Britain's other ancient monuments were designed by Druids, which is equally untrue; the only truth you'll find at Stonehenge is the stones themselves).

There's a website that claims to expose an Arthurian cultist who operated in New York in the 80s and 90s, one who bases her practises largely on roleplaying games and on, $deity help me, the Dark Is Rising fandom. See here:
The bulk of her ideas, concepts, and practices in regards to metaphysics were obviously derivative of popular fiction; she went so far as to describe Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising cycle of books as a loosely fictionalized account of events in her life. She alleged that Ms. Cooper had been a "friend of the family", especially the Druid/Voudon/Archaeologist father (The name 'Merriman' is actually taken directly from these books, as is the name 'Bran') and had fictionalized the exploits of her and their lives accordingly, occasionally swapping the genders of characters (which was her justification for the lead character in the series's being male).

She did not claim that I was a reincarnate of an obscure figure with a somewhat tangential connection to Arthurian mythology (Gwion Bach) until some time later.

[...]

She was also the main force behind the structure of the group, which was again heavily influenced by the structure of RPG-style 'adventure parties' (I repeatedly insisted that this be abandoned; she adamantly maintained that there was a much finer line between the RPGs that she/we played, and reality, than most people thought. She also insisted that fictional representations in popular books and movies were more useful as metaphysical education than that of established traditions. During the second half of our association, her insistence that White Wolf's "Kindred Of The East" source-books were based on fact, as well as the books of Tim Powers--going so far as to designate one of our 'magickal operations' around a plot-line lifted directly from them--proved to be a breaking point for numerous people.)



That's all pre-internets, not within the same territory I was talking about yesterday. The most famous internet fancult is probably the Snapes On An Astral Plane folks. They are religiously devoted to a Harry Potter character, who they believe to be literally real and able to contact them in their dreams. The wank report is too perfect to be summarised or excerpted, so I urge you to go read it.

[edit: I meant to add this yesterday but forgot; an intriguing comment from the F_W thread. "To me, getting a tat of a character is the same thing as getting a tat of any symbol-- it serves as a permanent reminder to embody certain characteristics, or to uphold a values system, or whatever. I have the Triforce tattood on my back, and it's there because what it stands for (the joining of Courage, Wisdom, and Power) is powerful and has a lot of meaning for me. But on the other hand, I also don't think the Triforce exists in some mystical realm, or that Link is sending me signals to write crappy fanfic and make godawful manips in his name. THAT'S what's totally batshit here."]


Then there's the Hojo.org Public Warning, a site which describes the misdeeds of two women, Jen and Renee, whose occult practices involve the Final Fantasy VII fandom, and who use the fandom as a way to make converts. Some dispute this exposé - I've seen a few comments around alleging that it's all just grudgewank on the part of the site owner, possibly taking inspiration from the Madison website I quoted above. I am certain that it's at least broadly true, because I briefly knew Jen Sagan myself, in early 2003. She was the 'friend' of...an emo nuisance, really, who got me nattering to her on MSN. [I would love to know if the blue person recalls any of this.] She seemed quite pleasant and reasonable, and I'd count her as one of the two most evil people I've ever met.

The site's mostly about allegations of appalling behaviour towards housemates, but fancultishness is never far away; "jen was on about how she had been betrayed, how they were so united...about this time i began to read a few horror stories. jen had made aeris [another member of the cult, real name Angel] sit in a bathtub full of ice cubes and green food colouring as part of her 'cetra training.' it's a wonder the poor girl didn't get hypothermia."

It also quotes something she wrote about herself on LJ once:
Hi, my name is Jen, and I help rehabilitate vampires and assist in spiritual awakenings. I also take care of metaphysical emergencies and, oh yeah, I do exorcisims and banishings too. I'm quite versed in ancient ritual and I often use my own blood to seal spells. I'm not catholic, but I'm not wiccan. God talks to me and tells me that the end of the world is at hand, she says. I'm married to Metatron and, oh yes, I'm the physical embodiment of the angel Uriel. In past lives I've been Integra van Helsing, Sephiroth, and Dilandau Albatou, amongst others. I've been to many theripists, but they all keep telling me I'm okay. Aside from catholic priests wanting to exorcise my house and my husband, things are pretty normal. Unless you count having 20 some kids live in the mental realm that my husband and I share as NOT normal...

[...]
I sing, I do celtic, modern, ritual and sword dancing, and I'm training to be the next soprano sorceress. Famous people I'm related to; Finn MacChumhal (McCool),Morgan LeFaye, and Bram Stoker.

[...]

I have no father, and my mother isn't human. My crazy Uncle Michael works for MI-5, and my Best guy friend was created in a super secret laboratory in Glendale, California, and "born" in the same hospital I was in Pasadena, which leads us both to believe that I might be part of the same "project". My husband, by the way, besides being Metatron, is also a No Life King. Not a nosferatu, no, but an echthros. And a mad scientist. And an Emperor. And a Priest.


(The whole otakukin business is helpfully explained in humanese here).


Dunno that there's any point to make here, other than that there's a slippery slope. There are fans who play with love and dreams, who put their all into it, who let it live inside them, and there are fans who get swallowed by it. And there are religions, which are mostly old and of murky origin, but the stories they tell are supposed to have some different value, morally and religiously, than the stories told in fandom. You get Christian proselytisers handing out copies of St Mark's Gospel, telling you to read the story, because then you'll believe. What's with that?

(My own view is that the Things Out There are unlikely to conform to any shape that comfortably fits in my dear little head, so I may as well grok it however's most appropriate for me. The Tao that can be named is not the Tao, and all that).

Thursday, March 20, 2008

fandom: it is all coming together in my head.

Though I'm still only grasping at its corners.

These are my thoughts on yaoi, and a few other things.


Clear divides mess things up, so I'm trying to write this down without them, and leave it as the big tangle of story, sex and society which it is. See, I read comments like this from Henry Jenkins, about why he thinks fandom is the wonderful thing it is:

I've had several people ask me about what I meant when I suggested that the amount of energy and creativity that surrounds fan culture might be understood, at least in part, in the context of a culture which fails to tap the full intelligence and creative energies of its citizens. I suggested that many of the women I had met in the fan fiction writing community, for example, held jobs, such as those of a librarian, school teacher, nurse, or nanny, which require high level of education for entry but often do not tap that knowledge as regularly as might be ideal. Many of these women use fan fiction as an outlet for their surplus creative energies, as a way of getting recognition for their accomplishments outside of the workplace, and as a means of forming community with others who share the same frustrations and fantasies. The same is true for fans of many other types: they are able to do much more outside of the workplace than they are allowed to do in their jobs. Someone asked me if I had meant women. Well, women are certainly as a group devalued and under-utilized in our society and this may account for why such a large number of them are participating in online communities of all kinds and accomplishing extraordinary things. But the same would be true of many other groups, including a larger number of young men. The point is that we look in the wrong direction when we pathologize fans for finding creative outlets through participatory culture rather than asking why America is not more actively cultivating that intelligence and creativity through every aspect of our society. (None of this is to suggest that fan activities are meaningless in their own right or need to be justified by appealing to more 'serious' values. As I also said during my remarks, humans do not engage in activities that are meaningless. If you think you see people doing things you find meaningless, look again and try to understand what the activities mean for them.)


...I don't think he's in the right territory at all. None of his theories chime with my feelings about participating in fandom - hell, I still consider myself to be fen even though it's years since I last read and wrote fan culture in serious volume. My mental and creative faculties are elsewhere, but I am fen, and can step back inside at any moment. Not all stifled people are fen; many fen are not in the least frustrated or unchallenged by life, but are still fen.

He's asking the right questions - why is fandom happening, why is it so huge, why is it pathologised and made legally suspect by the mainstream, and why is it women? But his answers are sat firmly within the lines; fandom, to him, is about creating and about intelligence. Maybe he's dealt with the rest of fandom elsewhere, and I've just not read it, but I don't see how you can answer these questions without saying that fandom is about sex and fandom is about being part of a society where sex is explored in ways that are wildly un-mainstream.

Look, how can you even start to talk about why women have made fandom if you're not talking about sex?

Step back from fandom and look here, where Bitchy Jones has delivered again:

The vagina accommodates what’s offered

The reason this makes me froth isn’t because of the whole thing where of course size matters. Different cocks feel different. Different shapes and sizes work better than others. But it’s way more complicated than what your ruler tells you.

I’m crosser even than usual, because this statement - viewed as a kind of meta - just it feels like such a perfect encapsulation of the way female sexuality is viewed by everyone from Freud up. The vagina accommodates what’s offered! Yeah, right. Female sexuality will basically adjust itself to meet the needs of whatever is being asked of it.

‘Cause as we all know female sexuality is all fluid and undefined.

Thus a sexually liberated woman will simply be open to anything. Any sexual experience at all. Being whatever is convenient. In a way that men are simply not expected to be.


In fandom the opposite is true. Endless wanks about OOC aside, it is not only cool but celebrated for women who make fandom to assume men are open to any sexual experience that piques the author's interest. This is way more important than the original canon story - I've even been part of two different anime fandoms (Weiß Kreuz and Digimon) where many active readers and writers (me included) had not seen the canon, and were just in it for the porn and because the characters are fun to play in your head with.

And fandom porn isn't just sexual. Fandom is full of emotional pornography. A male character is open to any emotional experience that is convenient (and pleasurable) to the writer. When people talk about fandom aesthetics, or slash aesthetics, it's emotional porn rather than sexual porn that's the litmus test. Fandom takes the idea of arousal and pulls it past the line marked sex, and drags sex along with it. I'm mad about Alis Dee's current Batman/Superman thing which she totally needs to write more of; it hasn't sprouted a name yet, last I heard, so she calls it 'untitled identity porn'. Identity porn! Superhero fandoms are made of it.

Then there's fanthings which are so huge and absorbing, but rarely if ever stray into explicit sexuality. What would either Jenkins or Freud make of Bridlewood Manor? [If you're a fen of any stripe and have nothing to do this weekend, I strongly advise you to lose your mind to those 650,000 words of pure win. I did so myself on Easter weekend five years ago. The first chapter has some awkward dialogue but the other 93 are perfect.] How do you want to frame Mitsugi's diligence, endurance and talent, and the fact that she's channelled it into fanfic? I am happy to call it epic porn.


Livejournal has helpfully exploded again, which has a way of prodding these things along. The thing about all new accounts being either paid for or smothered in advertising doesn't concern me directly. What was more interesting was the filtering of the Popular Interests list (now thankfully reversed).

There, sexually explicit terms - 'bondage', 'porn', 'hardcore' - were edited out; so were queer terms - 'bisexuality' and 'faeries'; and so were references to fandom - 'fanfiction' and 'yaoi'. That's a pretty clear line between content that is welcomed and content that is not. Look at how it winds.

Every time fandom falls out with particular websites, it's about sex. And the people on the other side of the argument - many staff, seemingly all the site owners - are almost all men. Six years ago it was Xing Li over at ff.n, wanting all explicit fandom off his site because it was that which generated the lion's share of work for the complaints team. Fandom didn't want to draw a hard line between sex and not sex, so migrated - sure, people still use it, but I for one haven't met anyone on ff.n since the sex went, haven't felt like there's anything happening there. And so, Livejournal. (The Fanlib debacle punctuates here - it's the only row I can think of that was about ownership and revenues, not sex. Here the female writers vs male site-owner thing was brought to the limelight). Livejournal has no intention of eliminating sex entirely - they're not that stupid - but the succession of site owners that have antagonised fandom - first Six Apart, now SUP - have picked sex as their sticking point with fen society. Write about sex, sure, but not in public - we can't let sex and fandom show up on the Popular Interests page. Write about sex, but not any sex - only sex that won't make us uncomfortable, only sex that would be okay if it was more than just a fantasy. (I still don't get how writing or drawing an imaginary sex act is ever going to harm anyone, ever, no matter how suspect or harmful said sex act would be IRL. One thing the women in fandom seem to know, and their detractors do not, is that there's a difference between fantasy and reality).

You know, I keep talking about the women of fandom, but I think it's time to talk about the men. They're certainly around; the first fandom group I was ever part of, on a videogames site, was about half male (doubtless due to the gamer demographic), and while it was often about sex (more so when women wrote than when men wrote, too), the community didn't enourage explicit sex. Even then, this half-female group soon came to blows with the male admin and an all-male group of trolls who happened to be his friends, not about sex but about the way we communicated, the way we gave each other verbal rewards and criticisms. So men are there, especially in gaming fandoms. But I'd like to point out two differences:

a) I've seen fanporn written by men, but I've never seen straight men joining the gleeful subculture fandom has made on the far side of what's culturally normal wrt sex. I've also never seen them hold their writing about sex as being an important part of their survival in this world the way, say, Ponderosa and Chalcedony Cross do. Female homosociality is a crucial part of the porny environment.

b) Many popular parodists and humourists in fandom are men. There's Neil Cicierega, Brian Clevinger, Chris at Gigaville, Jack Bullions (whose site is no longer online, gah). Note that none of these four use prose or illustration, which are the most common mediums for fanworks, especially fanworks about sex (though vidding has gained a lot of ground in the last five years). Instead they're doing animation, webcomics or script-form humour.

Note that parody is, I think it's safe to say, the only socially mainstream - and legally clean - form of fanworking. Clevinger even sells t-shirts which feature his canon characters spouting his words, and that's more or less okay.

Do men do parody because it is acceptable, or is parody acceptable because it's consistently men who make the social rules, and who decide what goes on the largest fen-infested websites? (In both the internets and in wider society men get to decide what fictions are acceptable and who they are acceptable for). Here I have to link to How Fanfiction Makes Us Poor, one socialist feminist's view of the whole situation.


And at Bitchy's place, people are discussing whether women are a feasible market for porn.

Women - not all women, but this large and dedicated group of women - went off and made their own porn with their own rules, porn where women colonise finely defined niches while men - maleness, imaginary men, abstract object men - are used in any way that brings arousal to women, and sites like Livejournal have been quite happy to generate a shittonne of money from this freely provided content.

Did I say imaginary men? Not always. There's RPS - real person slash, where the male 'characters' used are real people; actors, sportsmen, rockstars. Real person fiction is past my emotional squick line - I couldn't even explain why, I just can't read it. Some people want to cross that line, suspend their disbelief regarding the real lives of these men, and make fiction about them because they're beautiful and it's hot, emotionally and sexually and all other kinds of hot.

I'm in three RPS comms because I love the pictures of men, especially the ones where they really should've known about the slashgirls if they were planning on posing with each other like that. And you know what? There are no lines, no conventions to follow about what sort of sexiness is allowed - anything goes. There's no age limit. People write Jose Mourinho / Roman Abramovich fic, and other people call it damn hot. People perve over photos of seventeen-year-old cricket players, sexualising their physical features and wondering who they're going to pair them with in a couple of years' time.

In fandom as a whole, it's pretty much a given that it's okay to write explicit material about 15-year-old characters. Hence the entire Gundam Wing fandom, and the mid-series Potterverse. Iirc these stories are actually illegal in Australia; illustrations featuring underage people having sex may soon be illegal in the UK - though that's about men who view lolicon hentai, not about the women of fandom. There's barely more debate over the teenagers who read and write porn - sometimes about imaginary people close to their own age, sometimes not. Back on ff.n, a porn reader-writer's seventeenth birthday was always heralded with glee that they were finally allowed to read the stuff they'd been reading and writing for the last x years. Many of the best fanworks I've ever read were written by girls aged between 13 and 15 (though now I think about it, that's more often in the realm of emotional fantasies than sexual ones). Livejournal's new age-based content filtering has the outcome that these girls can still write about explicit sex if they want to, but their porn can only be read by members who are over the age of 18. Teenagers can no longer communicate about sex to other teenagers on LJ, because talking about sex is reserved for legal adults, whoever's producing the content. I'm sure they lie about their age, as we all used to back on ff.n, because the truth is not acceptable.


...And in a total other corner of internetland are these poor, sad people who are all put out because they want lesbianism to be something that doesn't involve women doing things to turn on other women. I hope they grow up and climb out of the f/f dating pool, seeing as it's clearly too hot for them. But look, I have to ask, have they met these fandom women at all? Do they have any radical theories to offer about why so many women are putting their time and energy into making and sharing porn - porn that features people and situations that are way off from mainstream pornography? (Oh, look, some of them blame demons for why lesbians find other lesbians stonking hot. You couldn't make this stuff up.).

I owe fandom. I was as messed-up about sex as every other teenager - I knew I wanted it, and my body wanted it, but everything that was supposedly to do with sex was misogynistic, repellent and deathly dull. Until fandom showed me how to go my own way, to not be convenient or accommodating to sexuality as laid down by straight men, but to enjoy and create and dream about male and female bodies, my way. It's sad, but it's true. Ta, fandom.


I've just gone and edited the top of this post because it originally said something that I've not wound up writing about. I'm going to put that something down anyway, in the hope that I'll figure it out later - it's just a model that occurred to me years ago that I can't easily justify but which makes way more sense to me than what Jenkins said.

It is that the nature of fandom is akin to that of religion, and I think it entirely possible that many religions - so often tied to myths, to storytelling - originated as the same sort of social exchange that you find in fandom. Take a story, make a community around it, rebuild the story to bring out what's meaningful - and pleasurable - to you, make your own new rules about what goes wrt sex, and wrt community, identify with the story and communify around the story and the storytelling.

Is it the modern economy that's frustrating to the intellects, creativity and passions of women, or is it the modern religious practices? No, fuck no, I'm not going to ape Jenkins' phrasing because I don't think fandom comes from frustration at all. I think it comes from love and from a desire to honour a story by giving your daydreams and desires into it. I think fandom is worshipful - even fandoms where everyone hates or is ambivalent about the canon, even fandoms where hardly anyone has seen the canon and they're all just there because they followed the BNFs and are up for some mischief. Fandom is what happens to previously religious urges in a post-God, media-saturated world.

I'm stopping here, but tomorrow I'm going to post about fandom cults!, because they're all kinds of fun and freaky.

five years.

M is putting a supermarket loyalty card back in his wallet. He pulls his Gamespot trade-in card out and waves it at me. "Do you know what this is?"
"Hmm?"
"A third of a Wii."
(We have recently traded a v. large pile of no-longer-wanted stuff).
"That's good. I think we should measure all currency in game consoles now. Way better than dollars and cents."
"Yeah. Right now the Wii is worth more than the fucking economy."



Today is the Blogswarm Against The War, because we have been doing this for five freaking years now. I am caught up in silence, sadly, but there is one thing connected to the war I wanted to jot down, because it has been bugging me in blogland lately; Ferraro, blah, Steinem, blah, Feldt - especially Feldt. I mean, just look at Feldt:

I credit feminism and feminists for doing many good things, but one thing we have failed miserably at is teaching each succeeding cohort to embrace the power and the responsibility of joining together as a movement to achieve goals that particularly improve the lot of women, just as every other group does and is expected to do.

We progressive women, we feminists who are activists in a thousand worthy social causes, might decide to squander this Moment and justify in a thousand ways why it’s our right to decide as individuals when we choose our candidate.

Well, yes, it is our right. But is it the sum total of our responsibility? Is it enough to really, really like Obama? Is it enough to flee from Hillary Clinton because of, say, one vote we didn’t like (even though her opponent never had to put his vote where his anti-war voice now is)?


Listen, bitchface - if there was any responsibility blah to embrace power blah and join together to particularly improve the lot of blahdy freaking blah, then Hillary would have fucking remembered that when she voted to [make other people] go to Iraq. Those bombs don't just fall on guys, you know? And while the liberties afforded to women in Iraq had been sliding downhill since the first Gulf War, the invasion has given it another good shove.

I think I can safely say that I feel as much 'responsibility' toward this rich lawyer lady as she did for the women of Iraq.


I'm increasingly feeling that if by some great misfortune we don't wind up with a President Obama in November, I will feel like the world has missed a huge opportunity - something far bigger than missing out on expressing blah blah movement goals blah, which really socked one to The Patriarchy when we elected Maggie Thatcher, eh? (My national identity is mixed up this week. I can't vote but if I can I'd like to help out the Obama campaign in November). So, electionish links that everyone must read:

BlackAmazon on how aware of history everyone is!
Daisy on the whole Wright business.

Crap, just past midnight. I tried ;__;

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A few words about sex education.

So a few days ago some cleverdick figured out that a quarter of American teenage girls has an STD. (Why did they only test girls? And how did they choose their participants, anyway?) The TV news prompted a lively household argument, with much differing opinion about what sex education actually was, never mind what it should be. (My housemates' experiences indicate that in the late 80s/early 90s, sex ed in American public education was actually sex ed, but it withered about 10 years ago. The sex ed I got was clinical, quite thorough in the limited realm of devices and widgets, entirely centred on PIV, and, at 15, far too late.)

One of said housemates - the one who'd had sex ed at the end of the 80s - said the STD epidemics shouldn't be blamed on poor education. That parents are meant to be responsible for these things, not schools.

Um. I guess that might work if we lived in a magical world where all teenagers are parented. They're not. I wasn't. All the information about sex I got outside school was from dubious girly magazines and from bad sf/f books. If you think schools shouldn't be responsible for sex ed, then...what do you think should happen to children with little or no parenting? Is it right to expose us to a health crisis because of something the parenting we never had didn't provide? Do we deserve that?

This strongly reminded me of the people who say single-parent families are A Bad Thing that creates Evil People; yeah, and what are kids who don't have two parents meant to do about that? Suck it up?


This comes at a time of iiinteresting state education wanks in the UK news; apparently 'school is the last moral force'. This is less wanky when you realise the headline-makers have said 'moral' when they really mean 'social':

They now sometimes had to teach social skills such as eating a meal together.

"Schools have a much stronger role in bringing up children than in previous years," Dr Dunford said.

In his speech, Dr Dunford told heads and senior staff that for too many children, school was the "only solid bedrock in their lives".

He highlighted how schools were now expected to set rules about basic behaviour which once would have been the responsibility of parents and the wider community.


Having bedrock is not about morality. (Though it reminds me of she who said that sin is when you treat people as things; we've built a world that puts people last). It's about society, and about what structures are going to catch those of us that have been tossed down the cracks.

Meanwhile, schools absolutely have to prevent children from being fat. Anything but fat. As many STDs as your Daily Fail sexphobic rhetoric can provide, but not fat!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

hair today and gone tomorrow

Everyone is hair blogging.

The ultimatest hair post ever was written many moons ago by The Angry Black Woman - now Kiya and Plain(s)feminist are at it. I am going to chip in now because my hair, it is a thing of infamy.

(I have read lots of great body-related posts in general lately; CassandraSays digging into femmeness, zombie z on extreme weight loss in the bodmod community; meanwhile, BlackAmazon is exploring age in amazing inspiring ways, and Bitchy Ogg Jones is writing on men).

So.

This is my hair. People like it, say nice things about it - strangers come up to me and compliment it, frequently. I am identified by it, in crowded rooms, in cartoony silliness, and so on. It's thick, dark red and it goes down to my waist.

This is not naturally occurring miracle hair - it's a product of its environment, like the rest of us. It's a product of the isolation I whined about
here and here; hairdressing, access to hair-as-fashion rather than hair-the-way-it-just-is, was something I was cut off from for a very long time. And because being without that sort of beauty play had given me the head of hair that it did, I never felt any desire to adopt it later. Why bother, when people paid to fake what I just naturally had? (The why is choice, enjoyment, play, and I guess that fashion stuff that I don't know a thing about).

I haven't had so much as a trim for at least 10 years. That's a shame, because if I did start trimming it it'd probably get a little longer.

I am backed into a corner here. I have only two appealing options; a) keep it as it is now, and b) shave it all off. All of it. Off. (Unfortunately the otherperson has said that if I shave it all off, he'll shave all his off. But, but, we like having good hair).

The reason writing this hurts is that I know my father likes it the way it is and quite deliberately made me keep it this way the entire time I lived with him.