An unfair split


In Italy, trusting a partner to do the best by you isn’t always a safe bet.

That’s Queer 

In a gay relationship, 50-50 isn’t an equal proposition and can unexpectedly leave a trusting partner on the brink

My move to Italy in 2001 sharply curtailed my career possibilities and earning power. The best I could do was become an English instructor, a job that would never pay well or give me much chance for advancement. My companion Alberto, on the other hand, was a doctor with a secure position in a local hospital. What’s more, he already owned a modest apartment in Milan and had inherited part of a house on Lago Maggiore.

Many people still hold to the idea that one partner, usually the man in a heterosexual relationship, must be the primary wage earner, the so-called breadwinner. My father told me this in no uncertain terms, calling me a “parasite, living off Alberto’s money.” While it’s true my standard of living is higher than what I could manage on an English teacher’s salary, I still pay my own bills, including half of our second-hand car and our old boat. Though I share living expenses with Alberto, we don’t split things 50-50 and he contributes more.

If anything were to go wrong between us, Alberto could continue living as he does now. I’d have to return to Canada and find a way to reinvent myself in the workplace.

I married Alberto in Canada, but the Italy I moved to in 2001 contained no legal mechanisms to protect me. Same-sex civil unions didn’t exist. Alberto named me as his heir in his will. He added an insurance policy and also drafted a contract stipulating I had rights to a certain percentage of his estate. Unfortunately, as many wives would attest, not all husbands are as careful or considerate.

Click the Link for the Rest of the Story

http://www.theamericanmag.com/article.php?feature=Features&column=95

 

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dating: THE CHECK


Image result for check for dinner

There was a time when the lines were clearly drawn, roles defined.   When it came to dating, it was the man who paid.  It was the man who decided where the couple was going to dine.

 This was pre Phil Donahue, and Murphy Brown.

After Donahue, there were some feminists who believed the man wasn’t obligated to pay and that equal rights meant just that, equal.   Separate checks leveled the playing field between men and women as some men believed dinner, obligated women.   On the other side, were the traditionalist, the man pays the man made the decisions. A women role was supportive as it was for their mothers and grandmothers.

It was a very confusing time, especially for men.   In the eighties, you never knew who who was paying until the check arrived. Was she a feminist or traditionalist?  Most men struggled with the notion of a women paying.  For some men, a women picking up the check was demoralizing.    For many years, my former wife would slip the money to me, my fragile ego wouldn’t allow her to pay in public.

The world has changed since Murphy Brown went off the air in 1998.  The internet and social media looms large in this new age.  However what hasn’t change  is who picks up the check on a date, especially the first date?

As in the eighties, there seemed to be more traditionalist then feminists who believed the man should always pick up the check.  It didn’t matter who earned more,the man paid.

There are some traditionalists in the gay community who believes the person who initiates the date pays.  There are many young gay men and women online who have never experienced dating. Preferring to wait to be asked out.

Susan Johnson Taylor’s “The Etiquette of Paying for Dates Today” ( For US News Magazine)  Who should pick up the check on a first date?  In a 2014 poll, three quarters of respondents men and women, said men should pay for the first date.

Many men want to treat and provide.  Some women expect to pay, while others feel diminished or less special if they aren’t treated to the date.  Its a conundrum.

Much of this is generational.  Younger daters are more equitable, sharing the cost more or talking about who is paying for what’ says psychotherapist Tina Tessina.  ” Older daters are more traditional , with the man paying more often, although even older women are likely to offer to pay then traditionally”

Those in the gay dating scenes don’t struggle as much with these concerns.  “Since there is less gender-enforced  expectation for one or the other to pay, gay and lesbian daters tend to share the responsibility by either splitting the check or by both at least offering to pay”. says Trish McMermott, dating adviser at LGBT online dating site OneGoodLove.com

Keep early dates low-key. Suggesting low-cost activities such as outdoor concerts or festivals for a first date relieves financial pressure, especially on guys who might be concerned about making less than their date or may not have the means for a lavish night on the town. “Some of the best first dates are the most simple, low-cost activities,” say Brenden Dilley, a Phoenix-based life coach. “If a man or woman suggests one of these, don’t take it as the other person being cheap or not taking you seriously – perhaps they just want an opportunity to spend more quality time with you and decide if there is a match.”

 Offering to pay shows good manners.  Instead of the “fake purse or wallet  grab,”  the other party  should ask, “May I help?” Now the ball is in the other person’s court. “He can say, ‘Oh no, I got this,'”  “Or, ‘Yeah, please get the tip. It’s $15.’ Or, ‘Your half is $30.'”

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CityFella

My first dates take place at a coffee house.  It can be a long evening once you’ve learned your not a match. Especially, before they’ve served the salad.    I order a small coffee, with an option for a second cup or dessert if there is a connection.  Half the time I pay for the coffee.    Thank you’s is crucial afterward, or in a text or preferably a voice call .  Even when the date isn’t successful, I call my date and thank them.

_________________________________

After the first date (from Match.com) If you’re not comfortable with forking out, sensible dating advice would be to suggest that you pay half each once the first date is out of the way. If things are going well and you are both enjoying each other’s company, you may even find that your date pays for some elements of the date (such as entry tickets to a show or exhibition) whilst you pay for the drinks or food.

After the fourth or fifth date, you should be comfortable enough to take it in turns to pay for each date. Don’t worry about being the first to bring it up; he or she will be flattered that you’re keen to plan for future dates with her. Setting the tone for a happy, well balanced relationship early on is sound advice for successful dating.

Finally, if you’re still not sure about who should pay, here’s some final advice to prevent any potential dating faux-pas:

• In the initial stages of dating, try not to splash the cash too much as you’ll look too eager to impress and might give a false impression of your day to day lifestyle and what you can afford. Remember that charm and charisma go a long way and are far more important than the size of your bank balance.

• To avoid awkwardness, choose dates which don’t cost too much until you have an idea of each other’s financial limitations.

• Don’t talk too much about money in the initial dating stages. Our advice is to be subtle about this topic so you don’t come across as money obsessed!

• Remember on most outting your date will be looking for a genuine connection rather than at how much you earn. If money becomes a genuine problem on a date you should think about moving on to greener dating pastures.

______________________________

 Final Words From CityFella
If you waiting to be asked out, stop.   A cup of coffee is a cup of coffee.  Having a cup of coffee with a potential friend or partner beats being alone in front of a computer.  Take a deep breath and enjoy the moment.  If your not a match its not a failure, you were simply not a match.  The success is leaving your comfort zone.
A sign of the times.  Many individuals have become prisoners of their PC’s, they have become fearful of the real world fearing rejection.  The reality is most people still meet people the old fashion way via social gatherings and referrals. The internet is a good source and just one place to meet people.
Its very difficult for some to convert online relationships into actual dates.  Here are a few tips.   If your looking to date, remove all sex from the conversation.  Get a feel if he or she are actually wants to meet.  If there a lot of hesitation or questions about after the date,there is more than a 80% they will flake.    Listen to their interest, are they looking forward to meeting you?
Once you’ve established a meeting time and location. Call a few days before the date to confirm.  Remember to listen..  Call  the day of.  Tell them your on your way and tell them your looking forward to meeting them,  and once again listen.    Bring a book, or your smartphone.   When they arrive, put down your book and turn off your smartphone and give an upbeat summary of who you are.  Full disclosure is overrated and overwhelming on the first date.    Carefully, listen to your date. DO NOT ASK WHY THEIR SINGLE AND ABOUT PAST RELATIONSHIPS.  Keep it light and breezy.
If your date flakes…..Stay, don’t leave, you didn’t fail. Order a dessert, look around.  The next date just may be in that Starbucks.  Read your book or turn on your smartphone.  Look around, enjoy your victory.  Don’t call the flake, no need to tell him or her off, its not worth your time because they weren’t worthy of you.    If you see someone who catches your eye and they are near.  Rave about your dessert, ask them if they’ve tried it.  If you not comfortable on this visit, you may the next.   On this day ,congratulate yourself, you’ve stepped out of your comfort zone.

 

Meet the matchmaker hooking up US soldiers with German women


Meet the matchmaker hooking up US soldiers with German women
Matchmaker Jessica Dreyer. Photo: private
By: Emma Anderson/The Local
With thousands of American military members and personnel in the Wiesbaden (Germany) community, there is certainly a market for foreign singles looking to settle in. And that’s where matchmaker Jessica Dreyer steps in.

When Wiesbaden native Jessica Dreyer started working at the US Army Europe headquarters in her hometown, she noticed an interesting phenomenon. At work, her American male colleagues were eager to find out if she had any single, German friends that they could meet. And in her personal life, her female German friends inquired about the potential availability of any of her US army co-workers.

“I thought, ‘I could make a business out of this’,” Dreyer tells The Local.

And so she did last summer, launching her matchmaking service under the name “US Love Wiesbaden”.

Business started to really boom after a few months when local media noticed the novel dating firm, and now she receives on average 60 to 80 new inquiries from Germans and Americans combined each week.

While she gets calls and emails from all kinds of people, including men seeking men and women seeking women, Dreyer says her biggest client base is German women seeking US military men and vice versa.

This, she says, is simply because of the numbers: The US Army counts 3,100 soldiers, 3,900 American civilian workers, and 1,100 retirees as part of its Wiesbaden Garrison. And around 85 percent of military personnel are male.

For a city that has a long history with the American military, such pairings between American soldiers and German women are also perhaps not so uncommon. Wiesbaden was captured by US forces in March of 1945 during the Second World War, and remained under American occupation after the war’s end. Troops have been present in the Wiesbaden area ever since.

Even beloved American superstar Elvis Presley spent some time stationed near Wiesbaden – a fact which the city proudly boasts about online – and made sure to carve his and wife Priscilla’s initials into a Wiesbaden tree.

Plus, Dreyer also works with clients in nearby Kaiserslautern, where tens of thousands more American armed forces and government affiliates live in the largest US military community abroad.

But even though Germans and Americans have long lived with one another in the area, stereotypes on both sides persist, which perhaps drives some of the mutual interest.

“A lot of German women want to meet an American because they say they like the culture, the way of life, the music, being in the USA and the way they think American men are… They find a man in the US armed forces very attractive,” Dreyer explains.

“The way American men look and act, they seem very friendly and like they will be good partners because they are easy going. They think German men are not so easy going in life, and are too picky with things.”

And Dreyer’s American male clients sometimes have just as many preconceived notions of German women – including quite romantic ones.

“American men say they like the women here, they’re taller on average and seem a little more natural. A lot of American men say they love the idea of an international romance. They might like the accent, or the different heritage.”

Dreyer also makes it clear that she’s not doing this to help arrange marriages for legal purposes, like gaining citizenship. And for the most part, neither are her clients.

“To the people who say they just want to meet and marry [for citizenship], I say I’m not a marriage agency. This is about dating and relationships, not about getting a green card or something.”

To set up the matches, Dreyer meets with prospective clients in person to get a sense of who they are, as well as to ask them what they’re looking for in a mate. Her customers tend to be aged 35 and up, which she attributes to the fact that older singles are looking for more discreet and direct ways of meeting someone than dating apps with online profiles.

Dreyer charges men €189 ($206US) for their first match – €50 ($55US) more than she charges women, who she says she charges less because they generally earn less than the men. Fees for subsequent matches are then the same: €95.($103US)

An important factor in the matchmaking though, is that the German will almost always have to speak English: her American clients rarely speak German well enough to have a conversation, if they speak it at all.

“Most Americans don’t speak German well, but most Germans speak solid English… but if they say they don’t speak English, I have to tell them to consider how they think they can have a relationship with an American this way.”

But when it comes to dating norms, Dreyer says there aren’t the same barriers. Germans and Americans tend to have similar views on courtship, such as questioning who should pay on the first date. Just as in the US, in Germany the answer to this depends on the individuals, Dreyer says.

One thing that is a bit different is the question of marriage. Still, given that her business kicked off less than a year ago, Dreyer hasn’t had any couples get to this point yet.

“Americans expect marriage to come sooner. In Germany we tend to wait years before getting married. We want to make sure we have the right person on hand.”

While you were sleeping 45 made it easier for companies to discriminate against Gays and other members of the LGBT Community


Related image

Perhaps he was looking for Ultra Conservative Cred. On Monday, 45 reversed an Executive order put in place in 2014 by then President Obama that prohibited the federal government from contracting with firms that discriminated based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Way, way, waaaay back in January. 45 told LGBT right advocates basically not to worry, he had no plans to rescind this protection.  But that was January.

 

The White House on Monday afternoon released a copy of an executive order signed by President Trump. The order revokes all or part of three previous executive orders concerning federal contracting.

The biggest concern was,,the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order.  That order required  companies receiving large federal contracts be able to demonstrate that they have complied for at least three years with 14 federal laws, several of which prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender stereotyping, or gender identity.

The 14 affected federal laws and regulations affected by the new Trump executive order also includes Executive Order 11246, signed in 1965 by President Johnson. Executive Order 11246 prohibited federal contractors from discriminating in employment based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Four years later, President Nixon added discrimination based on disability and age. In 1998, President Clinton added sexual orientation. And in 2014, President Obama added gender identity, plus prohibited federal contractors, too, from discriminating against their employees based on these categories.

President Obama’s signing of what was called Executive Order 13672 was hailed by many LGBT activists as protecting “millions” of LGBT workers from discrimination. It applied to companies who sought federal contracts in excess of $500,000.

Companies seeking such contracts had to demonstrate that they had not violated the federal laws listed in the previous three years. And federal agencies could not award contracts to such companies unless the companies were able to “explain mitigating factors.”

By taking away the requirement that federal contractors be able to demonstrate that they have not violated these federal laws, says Camilla Taylor, senior counsel at Lambda Legal, “this administration has made it extremely difficult to enforce these federal laws as applied to federal contractors.”

“It’s sending a message to these companies,” said Taylor, “…that the federal government simply doesn’t care whether or not they violate the law.”

Few people in the states of California, Oregon, Washington, New York and Massachusetts, know in 2017, gay people can lose their jobs for simply being gay.

Keep your eyes open, don’t fall asleep.

CityFella

Wrong way Ben


Picture/AP

It’s funny till it isn’t.  Benjamin Solomon Carson is a brilliant surgeon,devout christian and reportedly a very nice man.  Dr Carson is an educated man. A Yale graduate, he is written many books and he is a very successful motivational speaker.

Many of Dr Carson’s positions are based on his religion.  Ben Carson is a Seventh Day Adventist.  It would be safe to say that he is anti gay.  He believes homosexuality is choice, he has said  Gay individuals are more protected than Christians and believes people who support gay marriage are trying to get rid of the Bible . This is all public record.

Dr Carson struggles with some in the black community . He likened The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) to a form of slavery. He has publicly criticized blacks who disagreed with him, saying they weren’t able to think for themselves.  Born and raised in Detroit ,Dr Carson, struggles with the notion of institutional racism and believes black people should avoid government handouts that made us (Blacks)a welfare state. He benefited from a government handout, glasses.

During his campaign, perhaps to appeal to black voters,he ran an ad in Atlanta,Birmingham, Memphis, Miami,Little Rock and his home town of Detroit, that featured his speech interlaced with rap music. Dr Carson initially supported the ad,later he said it was done without his knowledge, that “it was done by people who have no concept of the black community and what they were doing”, and that he was “horrified” by it.

Dr Ben Carson, by all accounts is a nice man and was a nice kid growing up. However he was criticized by some during campaign of having low energy, boring.   He told variations of a 50 year old story where he attempted to stab a friend who changed a radio station and the knife hit the intended victim’s belt buckle and broke.  The purpose of story was  illustrate a moment of unbridled fury that led him to find his faith. Someone might question the timing of the story, perhaps it might make him appear less nice.  He abandoned the story after the press asked which variation of the story was accurate.

Accuracy…..

Yesterday,a friend without going into detail texted me asking me about Dr Carson?  Another friend texted me saying the word of the day was coon (an insulting term for black people).  Sometime in the day I googled Ben Carson.  In his first speech as the new secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban development described African Slaves to immigrants. Despite his extensive education, he painted a picture where African Slaves were free to leave the bowels of the ship where they would  join the immigrants on the Lido deck and share dreams about their new lives in America.

I wasn’t in the audience, but I can imagine the shock and horror and humiliation from many of  black employees in the audience experienced . Joy of Joys, our new boss.

Monday evening Dr Carson, defended his speech by saying “You can be an involuntary immigrant,” he said, adding that “slaves didn’t just give up and die, our ancestors made something of themselves.” He continued, “An immigrant is: ‘a person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country.’

Dr Benjamin Carson is a brilliant neurosurgeon, well liked and respected by those who knows him. He is the lone black in 45’s cabinet, another unqualified individual who will learn on the job.

SMH  (Shaking My Head)

CityFella

Could Norway follow Sweden’s lead and introduce a third gender?


Could Norway follow Sweden’s lead and introduce a third gender?
The leader of Labor’s youth wing said that Norwegians should be able to identify themselves whoever they want in their passports and other official documents. Photo: Stian Lysberg Solum / SCANPIX
Norway’s Labour Party, the largest party in parliament, will consider backing the introduction of a third gender, broadcaster NRK reported.
Labour’s programme committee will debate the introduction of the third gender category so that Norwegians would no longer need to define themselves as male or female in their passports and other official documents.
Labour’s draft party programme for 2017-2021 states that the party “shall consider the introduction of a third gender category”.
Although the proposal is only under the early stages of consideration, Labour committee member Mani Hussaini suggested that Norway should follow the lead of neighbouring Sweden, which adopted the gender neutral pronoun ‘hen’ into official use in April 2015.
Hussaini, who is the leader of Labour’s youth wing AUF, said ‘hen’ could also be used in Norwegian as a gender-neutral alternative to ‘han’ (he) and ‘hun’.
“I believe that all people should be allowing to live out their identity and thus the law should adapt to reality rather than the other way around,” Hussaini said.
“I think that for example in the passport it could show that one is neither male nor female, but belongs to a third gender category, thus a ‘hen’,” he added.
The idea of a ‘hen’ is not entirely new to Norway. The social-liberal party Venstre proposed the introduction of a third gender in April 2016 but it failed to gain traction.
Likewise, Sweden’s adoption of ‘hen’ has not been without controversy. The pronoun sparked massive debate in 2012 when a publisher decided to use it in a children’s book. But others argued that ‘hen’ is not meant to replace gendered pronouns. Instead, it allows speakers to refer to a person without having to mention the gender if they don’t know it, if the person is transgender, or if the information is considered irrelevant.
Ultimately, the Swedish Academy agreed to include ‘hen’ in its official dictionary, Svenska Akademiens ordlista, in 2015.
The Local

Dominance And Submission Are Forms Of Sexual Orientation (Really!)


Dominant And Submissive Are Forms Of Sexual Orientation

By: Lori Beth Bisbey/Your Tango.Com

Who you love — and WANT — is about so much more than gender…

When asked about my sexual orientation in the past, I’ve found it easier to reply, “I’m bisexual” than to explain my more complex, and more authentic, orientation.

When I was 9 years old, I made myself a “bottle” to live in until my Master came and found me. 

 

 

I grew up watching I Dream of Jeannie like lots of kids I was friends with, but none of them shared my fantasy of living in a bottle and doing whatever Master asked them to do. When we played together, they would talk about getting married and having a husband or a wife. Some of them didn’t talk much at all during these discussions (these girls later identified as lesbian).

My friends would sometimes look at me strangely. They did not understand what I was going on about. Why would anyone want a Master? I couldn’t explain it. I just knew that I wanted someone else to be in control and that when I thought about this, I became all hot and bothered.

When I would masturbate  at night before bed, I would dream of being owned and kept and ordered to do all sorts of things. I didn’t know what those things were, I just knew that they were exciting. (Yes I did masturbate most nights when I was 9, but that is another story for another time.)

As I got older and started having sexual experiences, I was attracted to men, women and some folksthe  somewhere in between.

However, I found myself most attracted to people who were dominant when it came to flirting and sexual play.

They have an energy, an edge and a presence that made me light up like a neon sign.

I was 15 when I discovered the Story of O in a second-hand bookstore in Andover, Massachusetts. I was attending summer school to study Russian and it was my first time away from home without constant supervision. I read that book so often that the binding broke and pages started falling out. When I was 16, I saw the film version and it had the same effect.

Like many of us, it took me many years to fully identify and accept  my desires and therefore to recognize what drove me sexually.

I realized the main factor in my sexual attraction to people has nothing to do with gender — and everything to do with power exchange.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the idea of power exchange in “Dominant and Submissive” relationships, here is a quick and dirty explanation:

Power exchange in a BDSM relationship is when a couple mutually and proactively agrees who will hold the power and control (i.e., who will be the Dominant or top) and who will surrender their power and control (i.e., who will be the submissive or bottom. This is exchange is made with the explicit acknowledgment of each partner’s consent, limits and boundaries.

It’s important to recognize that power exchange and dynamics exist within ALL relationships.

Within many classical, heteronormative relationships the man goes to work and controls the financial aspects of the relationship while the woman stays at home and looks after the kids, the residence and the social aspects of their lives. There is power on both sides of this dynamic, and neither is better or worse as long as the dynamic — the power exchange — has been decided and agreed upon with the consent and interests of both people in mind. To understand the power dynamics in your own relationship, take a few minutes to complete this exercise:

1. Think about your relationship (or your last relationship) and answer these questions:

  • Who makes most of the major decisions?
  • Do you make the major decisions together by consensus?
  • Who manages the money?
  • Who manages things relating to the home?
  • Who initiates sex most often?
  • Who is on top and who is on the bottom in the bedroom? Or do you switch?

If you answer “both of us” to most questions, you may have a fairly equal relationship. However, it is rare that both people manage ALL of these areas together. It would simply take up too much time. Usually, there is a division of labor and therefore one person may have power in one area and the other person in a different area.

2. Now think about your parents’ relationship and ask yourself the same questions.

Think about how power was apportioned in that relationship and the impressions that left on you.

Once you have done this a few times looking at a variety of relationships, you’ll have a feel for power dynamics and how you relate to them.

Remember these dynamics are generally fluid. Power in relationships can change over time and in response to specific circumstances.

For example, a man who is the breadwinner may lose his job and the woman may then becomes the breadwinner. When power dynamics shift, the relationships will often require some degree of adjustment. When they shift without prior expectation or agreement from both people beforehand, it can be devastating.

In a relationship that includes a consensual power exchange, the couple decides together who will be in control/have the power in which areas of the relationship.

Some people have a power exchange relationship in the bedroom only.

Others extend this further into other or all aspects of their relationship.

As I’ve experienced more relationships of my own and have given this concept more thought, I’ve realized that I, personally, am most turned on when I surrender power in many areas of my relationship.

Over time I’ve learned that sexual orientation is not binary — and it is not static.

Sexual orientation is an enduring pattern of sexual and affectional attraction. People are increasingly using a wider variety of labels to describe their own orientation, sexual orientation need not contain only one label (heterosexual for example).

I describe sexual orientation across three dimensions:

  1. From heterosexual to bisexual to homosexual (i.e., which gender(s) are you attracted to).
  2. From Dominant to submissive.

  3. From highly sexual to asexual.

(Remember that I am talking about orientation rather than gender identity. Gender is how I see and experience myself and does not necessarily apply to how I relate to or with others.)

In describing myself, as an example, I view my sexual orientation as bisexual, submissive and highly sexual.

The most intense focus within this orientation for me is the submissive one. For me, the best sex involves me  giving up control  to another person or persons — regardless of their gender. I have always been this way and this has been more important at some points in my life than at others.

Now that you have this information, what is yours?

Dr. Lori Beth is an intimacy/sex coach and psychologist who helps individuals, couples and polyamorous groups create their ideal lasting relationship(s). You can sign up for her newsletter and find out more about her adventures on her website and check out The A to Z of Sex podcast on iTunes. Write to her with your questions by clicking here.