On Being in the Closet

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It’s a Monday. I get to my 9am class with a few minutes to spare, and sit down with the group of people that I’ve been assigned to work on a project with. We’re all making polite small talk; how was your weekend, have you started the paper yet. One girl turns around to look at me and asks “What did you do last weekend?”

I hesitate.

It’s an innocent enough question. She had been chatting about her weekend and it was only polite to ask the rest of us about ours. So why did I hesitate? Well, because I had spent the past weekend at my girlfriend’s house. We had made pancakes and squabbled over the correct flipping method, we had cuddled on her couch while bingeing nerdy TV shows, we had made each other tea and sat on her bed talking long into the night.

So I hesitate. I hesitate because I don’t know what her reaction will be. I hesitate because I have to spend the rest of the semester working with this person on a project that is worth a significant part of my grade. Because I don’t want there to be conflict. Because I don’t want to watch her face twist with disgust before she’s able to hide her expression. Because I don’t know what she will do. Because I don’t want to have to sit with and talk with and discuss the project with someone who I know is repulsed by my existence and thinks my loving relationship is immoral, or pathological, or unnatural.

All of a sudden, on a Monday morning, I have to decide whether or not to come out to this girl I barely know, whose political affiliations I am completely unaware of. I must decide without being certain if it will be safe to do so. If I will be a target for harassment, or ostracized and ignored. If all our further interactions, which we must have in order to work on this project, will be tainted by awkwardness and uneasiness. And she only asked me about what I did last weekend.

I wanted to share this moment because I think a lot of people don’t realize that these kinds of moments exist. If you have never been in the closet, maybe you don’t realize how all-encompassing it is. Being in the closet doesn’t just mean not going around shouting “I’M HERE AND I’M QUEER” at the top of your lungs. It’s not even only having to pretend you don’t mind when people ask you if you have a boyfriend, while internally you’re frustrated about their gendered assumptions. It’s having to lie about your weekend plans and not feeling safe when people ask you questions that they think are friendly and polite.

In light of the recent election, I’ve seen a lot of people say that they’re going to go back into the closet, or that if things get really bad for queer people again at least they can go back into the closet. I understand that being able to hide one’s marginalized status is a privilege. Not everyone has that ability and the ones that don’t are in much more danger. I also don’t want people to get a dismissive attitude about being in the closet, and thinking that being in hiding means you’re not really being oppressed.

If you think it would be easy or not at all detrimental to constantly be hiding your sexual identity, then I would just like to ask you: what did you do last weekend?

Review: Damn Average Pawn

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This is a sweet, simple dildo. It’s made by Damn Average, who I first discovered through Ninja Sexology’s epic guide to buying sex toys on Etsy. Damn Average is run by Sheep, who makes hand poured silicone toys in beautiful marbled color schemes. Personally, I am a huge fan of toys that are shaped like penises but not colored like penises. My vagina enjoys the general shape of a penis, while my eyes love pink and blue cotton candy swirls and streaks a lot more than shades of beige. This dildo is modeled on a life cast with a base added. It feels a bit odd to critique a toy that’s based on somebody’s body part, but hey, that’s what we do around here.

My toy also came with a small silicone heart, which you can see in the picture above. It’s pretty and shimmery and lives on my desk. To my knowledge, Sheep isn’t including squishes with orders right now, but you can still buy non-sex toy silicone stress relievers from their store.

My Pawn is in the Soft firmness, which Sheep compares to “slightly stale gummy candy.” I think this is a pretty accurate description: It’s got a decent amount of give, but it takes some force to squeeze it and it provides some resistance to being squished. It reminded me of a soft art eraser, if that helps any of you. It’s nowhere near as hard as Tantus’s firm silicone, but it’s significantly less soft than Tails and Portholes Solid Soft. If that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, Sheep also makes toys in Hard, Medium, and Super Soft.

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Compared to the Tantus Echo, the Pawn is more girthy, much shorter, and definitely squishier.

This dildo is on the short-and-thick side. Its usable length is only 4.25″, and it has a maximum circumference of 5.25″, which is around 1.7″ diameter. I have a relatively short vagina, so this is usually a pretty good length for me. It doesn’t poke my cervix in an uncomfortable way like some longer, harder toys can do. Occasionally, when I’m very aroused, I wish the Pawn was just a tiny bit longer. In an unfortunate coincidence, being very aroused is the best time for me to use a toy with this girth. The shape is pretty simple; it doesn’t stimulate the G-spotĀ  or have crazy texture. It provides a nice sense of fullness, and I’m a fan of just leaving it in my vagina while I do clit stuff. It also makes a great warmup for using a very large or very textured dildo. I really like the finish on the Pawn, it’s sort of matte and creates much less friction than glossy silicone.

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All the pretty colors!

There’s one part of the Pawn that I am just not a fan of. It has a weird ridge towards the base that juts out towards the side. This makes it uncomfortable for me to thrust very much with this dildo, because the ridge is constantly popping in and out of my vaginal opening. If I try to thrust so that the ridge stays out of me, the Pawn becomes too short to be satisfying. I don’t know if this was part of the penis that this toy was cast from or a quirk of the mold or what, but it’s awkward and pokey.

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You can see the ridge on the lower right in this picture.

A quick note on the base: it’s pretty small, as bases go. It’s really close to the size of the shaft. In this firmness, at least, I don’t think the base would prevent the toy from disappearing into an anus. I don’t feel comfortable recommending this toy for anal use.

Overall, the Pawn is a nice, basic realistic dildo that comes in all kinds of gorgeous colors. Also, it’s only $30! It’s hard to beat that price for a one-of-a-kind handmade piece. If you like short, moderately girthy toys in pretty colors, you would probably like this toy.

You can buy the Pawn from Damn Average, along with lots of other unique, colorful designs!