In Our Last Episode…

I gave an overview of sex negativity with examples of how our society sometimes paints sex as a fundamentally yucky thing that does bad things to our bodies and souls. I explained breifly that sex positivity came about as a response to this largely pessimistic view by offering an alternative, more accepting and inclusive perspective on human sexuality

And Now On To Our Show!

Now that I’ve written about what sex positivity isn’t, I can get on to telling more about what sex positivity is. Except *I’m* not going to tell you. I’m going to let awesomesauce sex educator, Charlie Glickman tell you. The following excerpt is from a piece that was given to me in my very first sex-positive workshop and I thought it was fantastic.  I’m unlikely to come up with an explanation that’s anywhere near as good, so Imma sit back and let you soak up the Glickman brilliance:

As a sex educator, I need to be able to reduce this confusion in order for my message to be heard. One method I have found helpful is to compare sex and food…

Try to imagine the following world: Accurate information about food is freely available and exists for all ages in appropriate ways. Talking about what sorts of food you like and negotiating with a dinner partner is a simple and relaxed experience. Different preferences, whether personal or cultural, are important for the information they provide and are no more or less important than hair color or family history, unless people are trying to figure out what to eat together. Some people prefer to eat with the same person indefinitely, others prefer to eat in a group and still others eat with a variety of partners as the mood suits them and nobody is ever forced to eat anything or with anyone. Each person is an expert in their desires and needs around food and their choices are respected.

While there are many examples of how our world is different from this food-positive one (as anyone who becomes vegetarian in a family of meat eaters knows,) it isn’t too hard to imagine this place. Now go back through the last paragraph and substitute “sex” for “food” and “have sex” for “eat.” How much more difficult is this world to imagine?

*Contented sigh.*

I don’t know about you but I think this analogy is swoon-worthy awesome. Not only does it get me all het-up about the exciting possibilities of a sex positive world, it also clarifies the idea that this isn’t about being all RAH! RAH! LET’S ALL HAVE SEX ALL THE TIME!  Having a more positive attitude towards sex does not mean that sex is better than not-sex. It’s saying that similar to food, sex is just a thing. It’s part of the human experience, there are many options and that we should all be allowed to choose what will work best for ourselves in our own lives.

Why I Like Sex Positivity

So you don’t have to have sex to be sex positive. You don’t even have to want to have sex to be sex positive. But I do. Not that I’m in a constantly state of arousal, but being a sexual person is definitely part of my identity. I’m also an extrovert and something of an exhibitionist. I like dressing in ways that show of certain parts of my body. I like doing burlesque and undressing in ways that show off almost all of my body.  Sex positivity is okay with all of that. Sex positivity doesn’t restrict my sexual expression because I’m married or a mother or closing in on my forties. That makes me pretty happy.

Sex positivity means I can stop worrying about whether or not I’m normal. There is no normal in sex pos. There’s just me, my body and my life. What works for me might be different than what works for yo and that’s it’s all sweet cuppin’ cakes!

That also means I don’t have to care about whether other people are normal. Truth time. I’m a lazy woman. Trying to define a universal set of acceptable sexual practices is hard. Having to determine how closely those around me adhere to those standards is hard. Assessing people’s moral character based on their sexual behaviour is hard. I have a career to work at and a family to care for.  Also? I just started watching Mad Men. Analyzing all that subtext keeps me very busy! I don’t have time to be judging everyone all day. Thanks to sex positivity, I don’t have to.

Sex positivity means I can talk about sex. A lot. I can discuss it with willing friends, freely and openly because sex is nothing to be ashamed of! Yay!

Ten Ways I Am Sex Positive

As I mentioned in the last post, I’m still relatively new to this whole “sex is not bad” concept. Here are some things I’ve been doing as part of my quest to live a sex-positive life.

1. I try to do work which reflect my beliefs that sexual health and reproductive choice are basic human rights and access to comprehensive, fact-based sex education is essential to achieving both of those aims.

2. I am big into consent. I blog about consent. I teach consent. The smut I write includes consent. The Man of Mans and I renegotiate consent and boundaries on an ongoing basis. Without consent, there is no sex.

3. If I tell someone I’m married I also say explicitly that I am sexually monogamous, since one does not automatically imply the other.

4. I try to use gender-inclusive terms like ‘partner’ or ‘parent’ ‘or people’  whenever possible.

5. Sometimes I’ll hear or read about a sexual practice that shocks the dickens out of me. I try to check myself and be aware of my own judgeyness. I also try very hard not to make disparaging comments about sexy things just because they don’t appeal to me personally.

6. I try to be a queer-friendly and a queer-ally.

7. I’ve stopped saying “Holy balls!”  as an expression of horror. Balls are not horrifying. Now I say it when something good happens. I’ve also stopped saying “slut”, “prude” and “cocksucker” like they’re bad things.

8. When other people talk to me about their sexuality and/or sexual experiences, I try to suppress my tendency to always be talking and listen.

9. I let people self-identify in their gender identity and/or sexual orientation. I refer to them the way they’ve refered to themselves.

10. I talk about sex!

 

Five Ways I Am Trying To Be Sex Positive But Really Need To Work On 

I also mentioned in the last post that I’m pretty new to the sex positivity myself. Every day I learn new stuff that expands my perspective and makes me realize how little I really know. This definitely feels like a life-long process kind of deal, ’cause I make mistakes all the time. Examples include:

1. Stating my preferred pronoun. I usually just say, “Hi, I’m Nadine” because I can take for granted that people will correctly assume my gender. But not everyone has that privilege. I’m trying to get into the habit of introducing myself thusly: “Hi, I’m Nadine. My preferred pronoun is ‘she'”, but 9 out of 10 times I forget. I also forget to ask other people what they’re pronoun is if I’m not sure.

2. Despite purging pejorative uses of genitalia and promiscuity from my vocabulary, there are  a few sex negative cuss words that still linger. I still haven’t surrendered the F-bomb.

3. I have a hard time admitting when I’m sexually inactive. It embarrasses me, which is not a very sex-positive attitude. Life is not about winning the “Who Has The Most Sex” contest.

4. I’d like to get better at including abstinence and asexuality in my discussions of sex because those are also totally legit ways of being.

5. At PPO we have a list of ways that people can be sex positive. One of the suggestions is to “call in sick by saying ‘I have crabs’. I have never done this. Okay…so far I haven’t actually had crabs. But that’s no excuse. Next sick day, I’m calling in with crabs! :-)

 

Sex Positive Parenting 

Do you know why I call my partner The Man of Mans? Because he is freaking excellent, that’s why! He was a sex positive parenting  long before either of us knew it was a thing. When The Green Bean was one week old, The MoMs started talking to him about all the things he would do in the future, including falling in love. He began with “Someday you might meet a special girl or boy….”

Right then and there, I knew my son was in great hands. The MoMs kicked us off with the sex positive parenting and we’ve both tried to keep it going as The Bean grows up.

1. We try to talk about genitals in the same way we talk about the rest of our bodies, using the proper terminology and not placing specific restrictions on using words like “penis”.

2. We don’t assume The Bean is heterosexual.

3. Like many children, The Bean is curious about gender. I’ve struggled with this for awhile, as I’m not comfortable with the “boys have a penis/girls have a vulva” explaination. After much thought, I am now telling him that “girls are people who say they are girls and boys are people who say they are boys.”

4. We don’t refer to the gender of colours, toys or activities. If The Bean brings it up, we remind him that there’s no such thing as a “girl” colour or a “boy” toy. These are things for everyone.

5. When Then Bean spotted my Diva Cup and asked me what it was for, I explained about my period.

6. We try to make sex, sexuality, relationships, reproduction and bodies part of the larger, every day conversation around our house.  The results have been….unexpected.

7. The MoMs and I hug, kiss, cuddle and express regular physical affection for each other in The Bean’s presence. He thinks it is WAY gross!

8. The MoMs and I hug, kiss, cuddle and express regular physical affection for The Bean.

9. If The Bean says no, pushes us away or protests when we try to hug, kiss or cuddle him we stop immediately. Even if he seems to be enjoying it.  Consent is mandatory and no means no. Period.

10. Similarly we never insist that he hug or kiss grandparents or other visiting relatives. Consent is mandatory but it’s also voluntary. No one is entitled to touch us if we don’t want it.

 

So there you have it…my two-part primer on sex positivity!

Are you a fan of sex positivity as well? What are some ways that you’ve found to incorporate it into your life? What are some challenges you’ve faced. This blog is my attempt to carve out a wee little pocket of sex positivity in the world, so thanks for reading along and being part of this conversation all the others!

Photo by Wadem

 

I was facilitating a session on sex-positivity last weekend, when something occurred to me: I’ve never written a post about sex-positivity.

That’s a pretty big oversight on my part considering the I bandy the term around these parts with gleeful abandon.

Sex-positivity is a philosophy I saw being modelled at Venus Envy. It was an attitude towards sex that I admired and sought to emulate. It wasn’t until did my training at PPO that I learned that it was an entire social movement with its own name and everything!

Sex positivity has and continues to change my ideas about people, choice and the role sex plays in our lives. It influences everything I do as a sex educator. For me it’s a big, life-altering idea – one that’s too massive to cover in one post, so this will be the first in a series of two. I’ve named them Sex Posivity For Beginners since I’m still near the start of the learning curve myself.

Sex positivity came about in opposition to a philsophy known as sex negativity. In my opinion sex negativity is pretty unawesome but I kind of need to start there, so that’s mostly what this post will be about.

Sex negativity is based on an assumption that sex and sexual pleasure are inherently harmful, immoral and dangerous or a sacred experience that can and should be possessed. Sex negativity requires that sexual desire be largely ignored and supressed except under specific circumstance like a marriage or for the purposes of procreation.

Sex negativity assumes that there are morally superior/inferior sexual orientations, gender expressions and social constructs. For example, in our society, monogamous, heterosexual, cisgender people are typically given more privilege and experience greater approval than people who are poly, queer and/or trans

Sex-negativity also posits that there are right and wrong, or at least better or worse kinds of sex. In a sex-negative framework the where, when, why and with whom of what constitutes better vs. worse sex are meant to apply to pretty much everyone without regard for personal desires or circumstances.

Specific social sanctions around sex have relaxed over time but as a whole our society is still pretty sex-negative. Sometimes, so am I. I’ve been influenced by sex-negativity my whole life. And even though I’ve discovered this rad new sex-positive philosophy, I haven’t become some radically enlightened, different person with a different brain. I still accept and perpetuate sex negative thinking, often without realizing I’m doing it. I’ve tried to become more aware of my own sex-negative attitudes but it’s definitely an ongoing process.

Something I have noticed is the way situations involving sex are often evaluated very differently from similar situations where sex is not a factor.  Here are a few examples of what I mean:

 

Lying vs. Cheating

This happens: Reese is married. Reese enjoys shopping but isn’t always completely honest about what was bought or how much money was spent.

Society says: It’s not ideal. Still, people fudge the truth about money all the time. Reese’s partner shouldn’t end the marriage over it. They should work it out.

Meanwhile…

This happens: Jordan is married. One day at an office party, Jordan flirts with a co-worker and they wind up making out.

Society says:  What a douche! Trust has been irrevocably broken. Jordan’s partner is totally justified in leaving this terrible marriage.

 

Illness vs. STIs

This happens: Sam gets the flu after sharing a big bowl of popcorn with a friend who had the flu.

Society says:  We hope Sam feels better soon. The flu sucks but what can you do? Sharing food is normal. These things happen.

Meanwhile…

This happens: Alex contracts chlamydia after having sex with a friend who had chlamydia.

Society says: Alex has an sexually transmitted infection. How embarrassing! And gross!  Alex is probably SOOO ashamed but too bad. These are the risks you take when you have sex.

 

Straight vs. Queer

This happens:  A man and a woman are sitting on a bench near a playground full of children, holding hands. They share a quick kiss on the lips.

Society says: That’s nice. If the children have questions, their parents will probably offer some simplified explanation like “those people are in love,” with age-appropriate answers to any follow-up questions. This will make everyone happy…especially the children.

Meanwhile…

This happens: Two people of the same gender on a bench near a playground full of children, holding hands. They share a quick kiss.

Society says: Inappropriateness! Now the children will ask questions! Queer people are only defined by the type of sex they have, so we can’t possibly explain what just happened without opening a big Pandora’s box of sexual orientation and activity. That couple have no right to be smooching here! It’s confusing for the children! WON’T SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?

 

Bankers vs. Hookers

This happens: Pat needs money to live. Pat works as a mortgage broker at the bank. Pat has no particular love of money or financial transactions but they are good at it. Pat does not feel any strong connection to clients when processing their mortgage applications.

Society says: Pat is a responsible, productive member of society. Being paid to do math is totally respectable. Working in a bank is fine, even when you don’t love it. Pat’s gotta do what Pat’s gotta do.

Meanwhile…

This happens: Sal needs money to live. Sal works as a prostitute in a brothel. Sal does not have great passion for every client but is sexually skilled. Sal does not form strong emotional connections with clients after having sex with them.

Society says: Sal is an amoral, destructive member of society. No self-respecting person would ever accept money for sex. Having sex with someone without any  significant emotional investment is soul-destroying. Sal is all scarred and damaged, yo!

 

Friends vs. Lovers

This happens: Jesse is very socially active and has many friends. Jesse friends are a diverse lot. Jesse enjoys playing baseball with some friends, attends a monthly book club with an entirely different group of friends and next month Jesse’s going to Florida with some pals from university. Everyone involved is aware that Jesse has lots of friends. Everyone is okay with it.

Society says: Have fun, Jesse! (N.B. society does NOT cite the increased risk of contracting a communicable disease as reason for Jesse to have fewer friends or social interactions!)

Meanwhile…

This happens: Sidney is sexually active and has several partners. Sidney’s partners are a diverse lot. Sidney enjoys frequent sex with a cute co-worker and recently hooked up with someone at a party. Sidney also has a fuck buddy in another city and they connect a couple times a year. Everyone involved is aware that Sidney has multiple sex partners. Everyone is okay with it.

Society says: Too much sex, Sid! You’re being kind of slutty. And by slutty we mean dirty and bad. (N.B. Sid will likely get an earful about promiscuity and an increased risk of contracting an STI.)

Your personal reaction to any of these scenarios may be different from the society says. Not every person in our society is sex negative, nor is everyone sex negative all the time. But generally speaking there is an assumption situations involving sex will be  problematic and we attribute those problems to the inherent “wrongness” of sex. And yes, sex can be risky and/or have negative consequences. But are those risks unique to sex? Are those negative outcomes because of our attitudes about sex or because of the sex itself?

Enter sex positivity!

Sex positivity defines sex as fundamentally healthy and a potentially positive human drive. It still places sanctions/boundaries on sexual activity – namely informed consent. And it also acknowledges that sex may not a positive experience for everyone or that some people choose not to participate or even have a desire for sex.

But sex positivity tends to emphasize pleasure, personal agency and individual expression as important elements of sex. Sex positivity doesn’t rank sexual activities in terms of their “rightness” or “wrongness”.  It’s a lot about honouring people’s individual desires and respecting the sexual choices people make.

And there’s more…much, much more! As I said, I’m a beginner myself. I’m only starting to get a sense of how sex-positivity challenges many of my assumptions about sexuality and how that in turn will affect my work and my life. But I am a full-on, sex-positivity fan-girl!

In Thursday’s post, I will write more specifically about what sex-positivity is and ways I’ve learned of putting the theory into practice. Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t let Ottawa’s buttoned-up exterior fool you. This here government town has got lots of HAWT happening, you just have to know where to find it.  Here’s a list of some cool, sexy events coming up in the nation’s capital.

 

September 5th

Trivia Night

What better way to kick off the start of the school year than by testing your knowledge! The Pride Centre and the GSAÉD are hosting a trivia night…and rumour has it there are prizes. 19 + event.

Time: Doors at 8:00. Trivia begins at 8:30

Place: 1848 Pub

Cost: N/A

September 7th

Women’s Queer Social

It’s Ladies’ Night! The evening begins with a delightful meet up over hot beverages at Second Cup followed by dancing at The Lookout you that The Lookout may require 2 piece of ID. Second Cup meet up is all-ages and The Lookout is 19+

Time: Coffee – 7:30. Dancing – 9:30.

Place: Second Cup at 171 Rideau Street.

Cost: Second Cup – Free. Lookout – possible cover.

September 9th

Fight For Life: A Fundraiser

Experience the excitement as students of Western Martial arts do battle, tournament style! Proceeds support the Youth Services Bureau’s participation in the AIDS Walk For Life. BBQ lunch available by donation

Time: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Place: Hintonburg Park

Cost: By donation.

September 10th

The Naughty Bits Book Club

Ottawa’s smuttiest book club is back! Come discuss the finer points of Curvy Girls, an erotic anthology edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel. Tea and cupcakes will be served!

Time: 6:30 p.m.

Place: Venus Envy

Cost: Free.

September 13th

The FIRST Capital Variety Show!

This is Ottawa history in the making. Sexy burlesquers and sideshow inspired performers join forces to bring you a night of entertainment unlike anything our town has seen! 19+

Time: 9:00 p.m.

Place: Babylon

Cost: $10

September 15th

Ottawa AIDS Walk For Life

The 22nd annual event to raise funds for local organizations that provide HIV/AIDS related services in our community. Join the walk, raise funds or sponsor a local agency!*

Time: 5:00

Place: Marion Dewer Plaza – Ottawa City Hall

Cost: Free.

*(Unashamedly biased endorsement: Support Team PPO!)

Ottawa Slowdance Night’s Teacher Student Edition!

Get close and sway to the rhythm and this special installment of Ottawa’s coziest dance party! Come dressed in back to school garb and received $2 off the cover.

Time: 9:00 p.m.

Place: Raw Sugar

Cost: $10. ($8 with costume)

 

Give a little. Get a little.

It’s that time again!

On September 15th sexy, sassy team from Planned Parenthood Ottawa will be lacing up and taking part in The Scotiabank AIDS Walk For Life. The walk is a fundraiser for Ottawa organizations that provide education, care and support related to HIV/AIDS in Ottawa. And once again my part to collect some cash.  If you’re inclined to give a little money to great cause, I’ve got something special for you.

Just like last year your donation gets you an electronic tax receipt and...a Sexy Shout Out!  

In exchange for your generous contribution, I will write a one paragraph personalized blog post, extolling your alluring virtues. I also spread word of your enticing charms via Facebook and Twitter.  I can also send you your own copy of your sexy endorsement to use as you see fit.

You know you’re hawt! Now you’ll have it in writing.

Don’t delay!  Click here to support Team PPO and get your Sexy Shout Out today! 😉

Unlike yesterday’s offering, today’s video really is funny. Why offer comprehensive sexual health care, when folks can just wing it? A big, adorkable shout-out to Crystal for tweeting about this during my afternoon commute. Laugh-snorting water out of one’s nose is a great way to secure personal space on the bus.

 

Don’t let Ottawa’s buttoned-up exterior fool you. This here government town has got lots of HAWT happening, you just have to know where to find it.  Here’s a list of some of the cool sexy events coming up in the nation’s capital:

Friday, August 3rd

Centretown Movies and Planned Parenthood Ottawa presents The Birdcage

What better way to start off your long weekend than with an outdoor screening of this campy, comic classic? All proceeds go to Planned Parenthood Ottawa (who just happen to be my employers). Huzzah for sexual health resources and paychecks!

Time: 9 pm

Place: Dundonald Park

Cost: Pay-What-You-Can

 

Ottawa Slowdance Night: Summer Love Edition

Get your up-close-and-personal grove on as the DJ spins (almost) all slow songs. Don’t have a date? No worries. There are designated dancers just waiting to fill up the slots on your dance cards. (For real, there are actual dance cards!)

Time: 9 p.m.

Place: Raw Sugar Café

Cost: $10 at the door

 

Monday, August 13th

The Naughty Bits Book Club

Ottawa’s favourite sex shop wants you to do some hot summer reading. Grab a copy of this month’s selection – A Queer And Present Danger, then jam on down to Venus Envy to discuss your favourite naughty bits.

Time: 6:30

Place: Venus Envy Ottawa

Cost: FREE

 

Wednesday, August 15th

Senior’s Night Out!

Get ready to mix and mingle! This twice monthly is a chance for LGBTA folk over 50 to get together and have some fun!

Time: 7:30

Place: Burgers On Main

Cost: No cover. Cash bar.

 

August 16th

Strip Cheese

Ottawa’s sauciest burlesque vixens take it off to some the cheesiest rock anthems, power ballads and love songs of our time!

Time: Doors at 8 p.m. Show at 9.

Place: Maxwell’s Bistro

COST: $10 at the door.

 

If you’ve got the lowdown on some sex-positive, queer-inclusive happenings coming up, feel free to drop me a line at nadine@adorkableundies.com or go right ahead and list them in the comments!

 

 

This week I feel sexy in…

Sunglasses: Joe Fresh. Blouse: Banana Republic (thrifted). Belt: Joe Fresh (thrifted). Skirt: Jacob (thrifted). Shoes: t.u.k. (via ModCloth). Bag: Aldo (thrifted).

…work wear!

I usually work from home; however a surge of summer getaways has left the PPO Office (or the PPOffice, as I call it) light on staff. So for the next few weeks I’ll be going into work a little more often than I usually do.

The PPOffice is full of condoms and wickedly cool people who talk about sex a fair bit, so I’m just as happy spending my time there as I am  working on my couch with my laptop. The official dress code at work is pretty casual but spending extended time the actual office is kind of novel for me, so I’m taking the opportunity to play dress up with button down blouses knee-length skirts and more tailored dresses.

 

Necklace: Joe Fresh. Dress: Lands’ End. Shoes: Seychelles.

This is my newest dress. I saw it in the Lands’ End catalogue a few months ago, but it was pricier than I was willing to pay. A couple of weeks ago, it went on sale AND I found a discount code online. This bold plaid number was suddenly well within my budget so I snapped it up immediately.

A Twitter conversation about the dress, prompted a friend to ask how many dresses I own. I haven’t done an exact count, but I’d estimate I have close to 50 frocks in my closet. This led to an interesting discussion about many dresses I feel I need.  For the past few years I’ve been making an effort to speak and think more accurately about what I need vs. what I want.  Not because I’m against wanting things. I guess I’d just like to be honest about the fact that I own as many clothes as I do because of choice.

At this point I need zero dresses. I want all the dresses. I’ve landed somewhere in the middle at a lot of dresses.

 

Earrings: Forever 21. Dress: My Michelle (swaped). Shoes: Chinese Laundry.

Confession:

I did wear the first yellow/blue ensemble to the office on Thursday. But this red dress and the plaid number are actually outfit projections for next week and the week after.  You’ve caught a glimpse into the future!

But that’s not my only hustle…

This red dress was yet another score from Stylin’ Jes’s famed clothing swap. It’s a size too large for me but the length and colour  work. Eventually I’ll get off my duff and take this to the tailor to be taken in but in the meantime, I wanted to include it in this week’s photoshoot, so I grabbed a couple old blind clips from our junk drawer and…

Voila!

We all need a little help holding it together sometimes.

This week I feel sexy in…

Scarf: Jacob. Dress: Angie (swapped). Sandals: Naturalizer

…clothing swap scores!

This past Sunday, stylist-at-large, Jes Lascasse invited me a clothing swap at her home. Having recently culled several items from my wardrobe this was the perfect opportunity to socialize with some awesome people, avoid a trip to donation drop-off AND perhaps pick up a few new-to-me items.

No offense to any other swaps I’ve attended, but this was the BEST haul I’ve ever had. I came away with eight dresses, three skirts, two scarfs, two tops and a pair of PJ pants. All for the low, low price of free!

In addition to the sweet load of swapped duds, you may have noticed that I also got Instagram! Because I am always on the cutting edge of hot trends from a year and a half ago.

Necklace: Modcloth. Dress: SWS (swapped). Bag: Aldo (thrifted)

After a glut of no-cost shopping at the swap, I found myself with a little extra spending cash. I’ve been wanting a new bag, so I dropped in at AMH Style a.k.a. Consignment Store Heaven! The thrifty streak continued when I found this big, beautiful beast of a bag for less than $20! Who knows if I was seduced by the plethora of pockets, the price or the fun contrast of the yellow against the deep blue of my maxi dress, but I snapped that shizz up right quick!

 

Scarf: Unknown (swapped). T-shirt: Unknown (swapped). Skirt: Copper Key (swapped). Shoes: Joe Fresh

I walked away from the swap with a lot of pretty things. But my favourite score might just be this Ottawa Carleton Block Parent t-shirt. Because this is more than a super-comfy item of clothing. This is a symbol of respect and authority to all those neighbourhood children who need to come in for a drink of water or maybe a band-aid or something.

And speaking of children, can we give props to The Green Bean who actually took this outfit shot? Parental bias notwithstanding, I think he did a pretty good job.

 

Many thanks to everyone who chimed in on my outfit for last Saturday’s Insight Theatre Gala. The court of online opinion ruled that the blue dress was most suitable for the occasion. My pal and weekend guest, Lisa, suggested I pair the dress with some leopard print peep toes and I think the combination worked quite well. The gala was well attended, we raised some good funds and I enjoyed the evening immensely!

Being blue never felt so good!

 

 

 

Tomorrow night is the Insight Theatre gala (you can still get tickets here)!  Being the kind of woman who’ll use any excuse to buy new duds, I scoured eBay until I found a lovely, summery chiffon number that I knew would be perfect for the occasion!

I know some people are nervous about ordering clothes before they’ve tried them on, but I’ve had tremendous luck with the stuff I’ve purchased from eBay. Perhaps it was inevitble that eventually that luck would run out. When my beautiful dress arrived, it was too small.

Meanwhile, preparations for the gala have kept me so busy these past few weeks, I haven’t taken time to think about a Plan B. Fortunately I haveback-up options, it’s just a matter of choosing which one…which is where you come in!

Here are three dresses I’m considering for the big Insight shindig:

Option 1: Colbalt Blue Assymetrical Hem

Dress: Unknow label (via eBay)

This dress was my first eBay purchase. This is the most current picture I have of me wearing the dress, which isn’t current at all.  I’m surprised there isn’t a more recent photo – this has been my go-to party frock for MANY an event over the years!

Pros: I love the colour, it’s comfortable, easily accessorized and a bit slinky without being super-duper clingy.

Cons: This has been my go-to party frock for MANY an event over the years!

Option 2: Multicoloured Full-Skirted Frock

Dress: Suzi Chin

I bought this dress last summer, after The Man of Mans accidentally donated three other cocktail dresses to charity. I was kind of bummed but in the end things worked out for the best.  I have plenty of clothes. I can certain afford to part with a bit of my wardrobe – especially for a good cause. Meanwhile, I’ve got a lot of use out of this bright, colourful number.

Pros: Really pretty, really comfy, doesn’t require a special bra and stands in crowd of little black dresses. Also, it flares out when I spin, which is fun for dancing!

Cons: This dress is very sweet and perhaps a little more suited for a romantic date than a cocktail party.

Option 3: Red and White With Shoulder Bows

Dress: BCBG Max Azria

This dress was also an eBay find. I love it because it’s red and white, two of my “go to” colours for fancy events. It comes from one of my favourite designers: BCBG. The dress is uber-comfy and shows some curve…especially in the back!

Pros: Sexy, while still being appropriate for an all-ages event.

Cons: Those shoulder bows are a little wily and occasionally slip down my arms (you can actually see it happening in the photo). I have to give a speech tomorrow and a bra-strap flash might harsh my classiness factor.

 

So there you have it? Which dress do you like? What do you think I should wear for tomorrow’s big to do?

I’ve posted a LOT of pictures of myself this week. People who say bloggers are narcissistic may have a point.

It began as a day job.

Nearly three years ago a friend sent me a job posting from Planned Parenthood Ottawa. They were looking for someone with a background in theatre and sexual health to take over as the co-ordinator of a youth-focused program called Insight Theatre. I had just left my job as a vibe peddler/workshop facilitator at Venus Envy, so I was in need of a new gig. The job description was an almost eerie amalgamation of my very specific skill set.  It definitely felt like one of those universe-sending-me-a-message type moments and so I updated my resume, carefully crafted a cover letter and submitted my application.

Happily, I was granted an interview. Then I almost missed said interview when I blew out a bike tire on my way downtown. I arrived sweaty, frazzled and nearly an hour late. Lucky for me the powers that be  at PPO appreciate adorkable, because despite my ruffled first impression they offered me the job.  The best job I have ever had.

Insight Theatre, in a nutshell works like this:

Every summer, high school youth from across Ottawa audition to be part of Insight Theatre’s new season. Those who are accepted join our training program where they receive a comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education from some of the best community facilitators in the city. They also receive top of the line drama coaching (our current coach is none other than Evolution Theatre Head Honcho, Chris Bedford).

By the end of the summer the new troupe members have evolved into fledgling sexpert thespians, who have channeled their knowledge into a series of theatrical scenes about topics which include: healthy relationships, communication, sexual orientation, abstinence, sexually transmitted infections, consent, sexual violence, gender identity, pregnancy options, safer sex and more!

Once the school year begins the youth attend rehearsals multiple times a week. They take the scenes they’ve created during the summer and use them as the basis for a production. They fine tune their work, honing in on what they feel will be the most relevant lessons for their peers. By November, they’ve made a show. They’re very own show of which they are the writer, producers and stars.

From November to May, the Insight troupe tours, performing and sharing the information they’ve acquired with students in senior elementary and high schools around the city. And me? A lot of my job involves sitting in the back of an auditorium feeling proud. I watch the audiences. Teens don’t always listen to their parents, their teachers or even their doctors when it comes to information about sex. But they listen to each other. The youth at Insight shows listen to our performers…because they’re youth too. They are creative, committed, intelligent, open-minded, open-hearted, generous people. Their passion for education never fail to inspire me. I’d probably be wise to exercise some professional detachment. But these kids are too awesome. I’ve loved every one I’ve worked with over the past three years. Every spring when the season ends, I cry.

But the tears can wait this year. Insight Theatre is celebrating it’s 30th anniversary and before we say good-bye, there’s going to be a big fundraising party to say “thank you” to the many, many, MANY people who have been part of this program over the years. If you’re in the Ottawa area, you should come – eat some food, get your dance on and see a show the like of which ye have never seen!

It began as my day job. Now teaching people about sex is what I do. And I learned how from the extraordinary, incomparable youth of Insight Theatre.

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Insight Gala tickets are $50 ($20 for students and lower income guests). For more information check out the writing beside this cool dude in the hoodie!