State of the site 2020

State of the Site (and Miss Pearl) 2020

Oh dear me. If you told me this blog was going to have stretched through nine years and now four relationships, being one of the most lasting achievements of my life (for good or for ill). It’s had numerous hiatus, only to pop back up again, when I least expect it and get sucked back into writing.

I’ve made no secret that a chief barrier to participation has been my love life. Dead bedrooms do not birth good text. When the core of your withered inspiration is the decline of your connection to another human, that marks a pull away from trying to talk about sex, because I try to avoid using the candidness of my personal life to potentially humiliate people.

(I mean outside the sexual sense!)

Primary projects for O Miss Pearl

  • Improve site finances
  • Increase content
  • Give the site a facelift & do back architecture work
  • Replace back art
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femdom ratio | ratio subs who bitch about the domme shortage are just another type of incel

The Harsh Truth About The Femdom Ratio

If you aren’t in the mood for tough, skip this post. I am well aware that a lot of submissive guys are extremely depressed about their inability to meet a femdom. This link is for nice advice on how to find a domme. Don’t read this post if it’s going to send you into a self castrating death spiral, ok?

Boys, you and I need to have a little talk about the so called “femdom ratio”, m’kay?

Just about every day a submissive man skips into a forum or bdsm group somewhere and complains loudly that there just doesn’t seem to be any non-pro femdoms out there.

Not only does this cause every non-professional femdom in the group to intensify her urge to only lurk, or leave, I find a pretty common pattern in these guys. To be exact, three common features:

They haven’t actually looked.

Ok, sure, they made a fetlife account, stumbled into a reddit group about femdom or popped into a discord. Maybe they got as far as femdom twitter or the comments and inbox of some domme’s website!

But they are invariably acting like a man walking through the local restaurant district decrying they lack of private homes welcoming them inside for home cooking. The minute they discover they aren’t instantly rewarded for thinking about kink with a hot loving femdom girlfriend, or the first few lazy messages get silence or a price sheet.. complaints! Additionally, sometimes they immediately demand someone else help them find where all the hot, single, promiscuois (and usually somehow monogamous to them) dommes hang out.

Do they google the problem? Of course not. Do they ask other sub men in relationships how they got there? Nope. They want something like the weird pneumatic sex tube tinder out of Logan’s Run.

They are boring as hell.

Ok, maybe they actually have positive qualities, but they sure as skippy have literally no idea how to share them. I can hear the tea kettle whistle of shrieking indignity already. But Pearl! Dating is HARD. The femdom ratio is so bad you ask us to be the exceptional top 1% of all submissive men.

No, you numpkin. First of all, you can’t be the top 1% of submissive men, that’s Silver and he belongs to me. Truth is most humans are vaguely earnest little potatoes, and that’s ok. But the average femdom ratio whining sub is going to send you a message that says “hello, I am potat, age X, I want to be told how to jerk off”. Some of the more creative ones might put something they hope you are like “I hope you are blonde” or “I want a nice mommy”.

Don Juan of the femdom ratio idiots might muster “you look attractive”, picture provided to him or not. Yawn. They essentially want a woman to find them fascinating, while giving her nothing to fasten herself to.

Sometimes I feel bad when these guys decide to replace servility for a personality. They forget that Service is a fetish, so anyone receiving it will already think that the sum total of the needed interaction is done. Then again, so many of these blokes have basically turned into Nice Guys who think being the door troll at the dungeon party is the secret to sexy femdom love that I have also learned it’s a quicksand of covert contracts.

Learn to hold a fucking conversation. Learn to make your appearance visually interesting. Be a potato, sure, just try not to be an unpeeled raw potato on an otherwise empty plate.

They have never considered what the inner life of a woman might be like.

At my most sympathetic I blame being raised a boy, and thus actively discouraged from considering anything girly. A sheltered young 20 something can be forgiven his innocence. It’s the same learning curve a baby domme might go through when she discovers that the zipless free labour promised by service subs isn’t actually reliable enough to make her feel powerful.

But these guys consume the porn specifically targeted to tease them, and never think beyond that. There’s a radical revelation to them that straight dommes don’t also (usually) want to look at porn that focuses on dommes to get off. It’s a bridge too far that women can have a spectrum of approaches to their kink, or their own porn and media separate from what the subs like.

In short, a level of empathy that’s stunted to protecting the self onto others. Sometimes it comes out as unsolicited nudes or offers of service tailored only to the guy’s pleasure. Sometimes it’s as easy as being bewildered that women have different safety concerns and relationship priorities. Either way, when these guys complain about the lack of dommes, they are pretty explicitly defining dommes in terms of their desires, not hers.

This kind of femdom ratio guy may also pop up in a very conservative country where overt sexuality can be punished, or even fatal to the woman. What makes these guys unsympathetic is it hasn’t occurred to them that dommes exist in these environments too. They are so busy complaining that none of the women around them are inherently into their kinks it doesn’t occur to them that these women might very well be as kinky as them.

More Variations of the Big Three

Got it? Ok, let’s look at common permutations of those three fuck ups. Slap yourself if you are doing any of these “no domme due to femdom ratio” pitfalls.

  • Waiting for a femdom to fix everything and do all the work once they throw herself at her feet. (AKA the starfish sub)
  • Femdoms don’t exist unless you want tp sub to them. (AKA women invisible when I don’t look at them)
  • No skill in vanilla, assumes that femdoms will all be inherently attracted to them, because all the porn ones aren’t picky about everyman protagonists. (AKA dommes are PEOPLE?!)
  • Searching for the magic domme dating formula that unlocks her private messages and from thence, her dungeon. (AKA dommes are a special hive mind)

But I can’t find any femdoms, and I’m not an incel!!

Great. What separates you from ratio subs is that you can understand finding a compatible partner takes time. Being single and looking is not the same thing as maintaining behaviors that are the kink scene version of a fedora.

As long as you acknowledge that everyone has challenges, it’s ok to feel a little blue. Just like, quit the woe is me no dommes shtick and you won’t be an insufferable mess as well as lonely.

It’s not fair, the femdom ratio is because subs would serve ANY woman and women are picky.

No, everyone who has a viable relationship gets picky. If you really weren’t picky, things like sex work wouldn’t cause you to screech it isn’t reeeeal.

You just like shitting on men for being weak, you misandrist!

No, honey. I have hammered out post after post of helpful, patient advice on how to find a mistress. I am going to take a good faith interpretation that you just have a hard time seeing humans suffer, and I will be clear with you: letting men do those three things I listed keeps them lonely and isolated.

To go out and express your desires, as a submissive man, is fucking brave. You are running against gender role training where being openly weak, vulnerable or wanting to have either of those might even get you attacked.

But as long as you keep telling dominant women they don’t exist, you are shooting yourself in the dick.

Try asking not how to find a domme for yourself, try asking “what spaces do dominant women enjoy being in?” and I bet you will start to find us everywhere.

On BDSM Advice that Does Not Work

(Or A Long Response to A Tweet by Simone Justice)

Trying to talk about the subject of BDSM advice includes the laughably bad, but also the zone of places that’s subject to more of a grey area. Sometimes you have the SEO spam femdom garbage where it’s content that’s little more than key words strung together (thank you Cara Sutra and your active effort to make the kink internet just a little more broken to make a buck), sometimes it’s wankery like Elise Sutton, telling people what they wish to be true to sell books. Sometimes, more rarely, it’s actively dangerous advice that could seriously hurt people like the rapey nonesense of Peter Masters “Control” book.

But then there’s the whole category of advice that is just not useful, being given out because it assumes a lack of distinction between professional dommes and non professional dommes. In most cases this advice is more tedious than will ever do immediate harm to anyone, but it’s still something to be flagged.

Stuff like this casual Saturday morning tweet from Simone Justice…

There’s a lot to unpack here.

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The Bizarre Bondage Of Beatrix Potter: or The Proof is in the Rolypoly Pudding

THE SAFEWORD IS FURCADIA

Pop culture historians know that the origin of the contemporary Furry culture were fans of “Funny Animal Comics”, but while we generally aren’t shocked that modern Furries are hecking pervy, what if I told you that the fetish fodder woven into those plush suits went all the way to the root?

Meet Beatrix Potter: Late Victorian to Edwardian era mycologist, illustrator, and generally remembered as beloved children’s book author. You probably grew up with at least some familiarity with the Tale of Peter Rabbit (all her kids books followed one animal in human clothes or another) or the other adorably named, folksy very British pastel mammals and birds. I had a complete run of her children’s works, printed hard cover with dust jackets, printed to be about the side of an adult’s hand, with a nice display box.

This isn’t a story where we talk about how she also had a second trade in making BDSM porn, like the explicitly kinky creator of Superman. Beatrix Potter’s other identity was a thwarted by sexism, but outside of her kid’s books, she was merely talented botanist who studied mushrooms (and then after a land conservationist). No, Miss Potter put her kinky themes front and centre: a fascination with authority figures seeking to punish their naughty charges; clothes being shredded, lost and torn; and captivity in tight spaces and scenarios

And there’s nowhere more blatant than “The Tale of Samuel Whiskers”

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Latex fetish bondage, fucking the cum out of him with dildos, & edging -An October Visit to Silver (Part II)

Part 2 of my trip to further claim Silver, body, mind, heart and soul. If you are looking for part 1 you can find it here.

He bought the latex sleep sack off etsy to celebrate his promotion. It’s one of those things that only exist in the realm of perverse desires and has no practical use, neck to toe swaddling, sleeves inside to hold the victim even more immobile. Etsy is a wonderland of bespoke sex toys, both as a sole shop front for many small fetish ateliers, and a never ending fetish fair artisan’s alley where you can browse established makers together and make comparisons.

The sleep sack was fairly cooperative to wrangle, thinner latex that didn’t fight too much to get him in- if I were honest he could probably have sized down, but it’s a good thing to have a bit of stretch. And hey, my lithe man is in a bulk stage of putting muscle back after covid closures carved him down into non-gym access size. It certainly was tight enough to do its job making him feel restrained. 

This was only one of several purchases- he also got me the most lovely underbust corset and pencil skirt combination from libidex and an experimental pair of stockings by the same maker (and gloves, which I got distracted and forgot to put on). I made him help me into the skirt, which even if covid has given me ten pounds from lack of walking, still squeezes up nicely. Squuuuish. ^_^

If you saw me naked, you would realize I am magnificently formed around a small waist and hips that occupy the size realm of things that influence the tides. Pencil skirts, tight tailoring and things that stretch and cling are the only solution other than custom tailoring to avoid all that vanishing into my clothing. This skirt plays into my strengths completely.

So, you can imagine I occupied that nicely empowered zone of knowing I looked sexy as hell. The stockings, alas, were a miss. In the first place I have 0 idea what possessed the designer to put the seam in the front. The cuban heel reinforcement suffered what a lot of socks do and sat too low on my foot- I’m a large 9 or a small 10 and all socks seem cut for a 7 by default. Meanwhile the top band did not flatter. These were not stay ups, so they wanted to roll down, but also somehow dig into and deliver up the fat of my thighs like whipped cream busting out a piping bag.

That is to say it still looked delicious, it just also looked clumsy.

Only after I was cinched and lovingly glossed was it time to slide him into his own restraints. Feet first, then with those settled, rolled over and arms thrust into those sleeves inside, before the back zipper pulls him from naked man into a sleek grey package.

Yum. Now to play with him…

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Find a Mistress with 10 Helpful Links!

find a mistress domme or femdom

Ever actually tried to Google how to find a Mistress?

While search profiles vary, SEO spam and porn makes finding useable information on the subject surprisingly hard. As with past projects of approaching things as if I were a clueless newbie, and found a surprisingly sparse number of useful resources immediately popped up. No wonder every newbie asks how to find a mistress in my inbox or in kink groups!

So a curated list!

Although I’ve taken a stab at the question several times, I thought, rather than linking to my article on how to find a domme, I might as well so some community service and collate every good how to find a mistress, domme or femdom article I could scrape. This post may evolve as links come and go, but here’s the top 8 or so to get you started.

Find a Mistress Links

  1. A general guide by Kate Kinsey isn’t a bad start for your search to find a Mistress.
  2. Ferns gives you 10 tips. She even wrote a book.
  3. Here’s an article in metro uk by Miranda Kane. Your question is more mainstream than you think. 😉
  4. The reddit communities r/femdomcommunity and r/bdsmcommunity are dedicated to text based discussions on kink and searching their archives will show you more answers to this question than I could count. There’s even a community called r/BDSMadvice dedicated to answering your questions.
  5. Sidney and Logan Hart have a book on finding your domme here. If you are brave enough, but broke, ask for it via interlibrary loan.
  6. The Smut Project has a massive resource trove including a guide to finding a FemDom Partner.
  7. If you are looking for a rather witty and bossy bit of advice that includes how to not have a professional ignore you, Alexandra Snow has a video on contacting a domme or mistress. This one is more pro-oriented, but trust me, even the pros are picky.
  8. The Chicago Tribune, of all places, wrote an advice article. Again, not bad for starting out, no?
  9. A very easy to read blog list on how to approach dominant women via email.
  10. Femdom Resources took the time to collate a pile of links for directories to find professionals, if that’s your angle, as well as communities.

Please do feel free to drop your own links in the comments. I’m seriously encouraging you here- we need these things to be easier to find.

Taking My Submissive’s Virginity & My Feelings -An October Visit to Silver (Part I)

Taking My Submissive's Virginity, mending buttons, different ways to dominate him, and love

This is going to be long, and entirely true, a diary trying to fit three days into some coherent narrative.  After I started writing I realized the average reader didn’t want to gobble up several thousand words in one post, so I’ve broken it into parts.

The button on his coat set itself free, and I took the sewing kit he never used, but had in stock in his usual bachelor practicality. Then, with a needle and cuss, I mended it.

I said it would take two minutes, and it was more like fifteen, but I was happy to do it all the same. My slightly more than weekend visit had been an indulgence for me, but it’s in my nature to find pleasure in the smallness of the mundane.

When this happened we were a few hours away from carting me off to the airport, and the two weeks of confinement I am enduring while I write this. The obvious response on my part, with very little time left, was to have a “what does this all mean?!” relationship conversation and follow it with a blow job. I might be a bit of a yoyo sometimes.

After I talked about hard questions, like where this is going, desire followed. Posed like a man proposing, one knee down, one up, I suck his cock into my mouth. While I do so, his hands grip the marble edge of the counter behind him. He’s holding himself exposed and vulnerable for me by instinct, and more than a little conscious commitment to the spirit of the law, if not the spoken letter. I haven’t told him to act as if he’s invisibly bound, but he adopts it as naturally as I stir need in him.

He always submits to me.

I think, given a choice, he would prefer a hand job. This blow job definitely isn’t about what he wants, more satisfying my own cravings. I like using my mouth. I’m not so skilled, but the nerve endings and the taste, from oral, are both deeply gratifying to me. So he surrenders to this, accepting his place is to be used how I feel like it.

This time, to my delight, he also makes  few thrusting forays, fucking my mouth. If I was a bit more relaxed I would rub my clit and come with his cock in my mouth. I like his taste and shape, and how he feels, even after four days of exploring desire, he still gets fully hard inside me.

Unfortunately, for various reasons I am still holding an unplaced thread of anxiety, and yet, in his company he has made the pain and half body cramps of the migraine I have had for 4 weeks finally leave me. We’re in a pandemic and work (in an office, back in Canada) is bothering. A doting, beautiful submissive man in another country is a treat at the best of times, and an extravagant luxury in the current circumstances.

I took my property’s technical virginity.

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5 Ways to Celebrate Locktober

It’s Locktober! That’s a full month arbitrarily devoted to celebrating chastity play, and by extension, given the popularity of caging cock in femdom, a whole 31 days to be romantic about F/m dynamics.

With one week left in the month, maybe this comes on the tail of the season, but I thought I’d bang out some quick tips to celebrate locktober – because I’m trying to get back into the swing of writing regular content.

What is Locktober?

Whose idea was this perverse silliness anyway? Well, the origin point is not completely agreed upon, but while the earliest known online post about it was on a chastity forum in 2015, celebrations spread across tumblr during 2016 and 2017, finding fertile ground in the very sharable nature of the then fairly robust adult community. (Credit to Cut to the Chase for making a good try to collate the Locktober lore) The glory days of tumblr are behind it, but the holiday lives on.

I think the origin might even be a cheerful riff on the older No Nut November, with its origin in the r/nofap community on reddit, after the rather more philosophically motivated silliness of boys who don’t wanna cum to preserve their potency gave fodder to fetishists. Not surprisingly there’s also a much more tongue in cheek effort to tie December with Denial.

Regardless of the roots, while No Nut November still has one foot in weird folk beliefs about the physically detrimental effects of the male orgasm, Locktober is for chastity lovers, and ever increasingly, a playful celebration of male submission in general.

1) The traditional method

Grab your chastity cage, cram it inside, click the lock and ask a special someone to be your key holder. 31 days of denial is a marathon, so do your research and look into how to get a good fit on your chastity cage.

You really will want to do your research as you can get a cage in a plethora of materials from decorative and playful metal animal shapes, to silicone, to plastic.

2) The solo method

Not everyone can, or wants to find a partner. Although you could argue that simply not participating at all the the ultimate denial, from the more locked up side, this is actually as good an excuse as you will get to dip your toes into the fetish as more than just a fantasy.

Merits of self locking including dealing with the pesky fit issue now, and also determining if you even like the physical sensations. Have no partner? Apps like Chastikey are here to help with variable time options to practice denial.

And, if you doubt your willpower, there’s alway the old fashioned key in a block of ice, or mailing yourself the key, though with the US postal service under siege you definitely want to make sure you have a safe key for the latter.

3) Making it about your Domme

One of the biggest criticisms of Locktober comes from communities of female dominants, who have observed that there’s an ongoing issue with Male Chastity in general that it tends to be very prescriptivist for how the Top is supposed to react and treat their locked partner. If you want to avoid that, you will need to walk the very fine line between submitting to her, not the fetish- but using your fetish to celebrate her.

Dominants are going to very by how they feel about the subject, but pretty universally clear that the top killer of moods is nagging- both to get locked, and then to get out.

If you want the sexy forfeit experience for your keyholder, the best way to phrase things is a tool she can use to feel as she wishes. Avoid promising more dishes and house chores and think about contexts that make your domme feel both sexy and powerful.

Is it wearing lingerie? Being listened to as a subject matter expert? More one domme even put out the free floating locktober challenge to share your acts of service this month in compliment to the caging.

And, just like how Valentine’s day can be a couple minefield, when it comes to mismatched expectations, talk to the person with the key. And! Make it very clear that you don’t need a special month to obey for her, but it’s great to have another excuse.

4) Being new to denial (and not overdoing it)

One of the biggest pitfalls to Locktober is that prolonged chastity is an endurance sport. A lot of people buy into the fantasy of being perma-chaste, only to feel disgusted or frustrated with themselves when the cage that was supposed to be on for a month is off in an hour.

Take your time, starting with short stints of denial. It’s ok to slowly build up a tolerance to deprivation, and long term chastity fans tell me it’s quite possible to develop a whole new side to your sexuality in the process.

And do take the time to find a community of like minded folks. Denying Thumper is a particular favourite of mine, but not only are their whole online communities dedicated to this, but the best how tos and advice are going to come from your fellow locked folks.

5) Don’t feel locked (snrk) to what other people are doing

Ok, so I’ve talked about this like it’s a thing everyone is clearly doing and on board with. But, shocking reveal, you can hack locktober to work for you. I did! This month I didn’t cage up Silver for the whole thing, I banned him from touching himself with his hands.

Seriously, you can change anything up you want and still be authentic. Maybe you are feeling super pressured because you aren’t good at long term denial. Maybe you are broke in college and can’t afford a cage. Maybe you are a person without the genitals that a cage works for! As amusing as it would be on my resume, I am not the cock cage police.

Regardless of what and how you do it, with a lock and key or the honour system, the most important thing remains the enjoyment and relative safety of those involved- so, happy locking, and feel free to share your month’s adventures in the comments!

Sonnets for my submissive

Sonnets For My Submissive V

I know why Fenris ran the sky after such prey.

The Sun

My lover’s lines are gilded in the light
And from the window, the warm rays caress
My hands grip his cream wrists and thighs squeeze tight
As firsts now gathered, my right as Mistress

Fill me twice within four days, and come quick
Your release my claim, your cock my possession
Fit where I ache and wetness makes me slick
Taken to satiate my obsession

You live to suffer & to offer joy
Vulnerable in every drop I drain.
Made for this, alluring man, my eager toy,
Who pleases the eye, & as much my brain

But in this golden hour I seek to share
Let the sun kiss also, where I find fair

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Femdom Review: Bold Seduction

Or: “The Bold Seduction Of Professor Hornsby”

It’s Regency Femdom Week, but I am immensely busy trying to dodge a pandemic to safely meet my submissive, and don’t have the undivided attention to bang out a proper work of fiction. Instead I offer a Regency Historical Romance review by way of consolation!

“Bold Seduction” is available on Amazon here as an exclusively digital book, as well as the standard kobo, nook, etc… At the time of writing this review it’s still on sale for 99 cents, but the regular price is quite fair too. I receive no affiliate or financial benefits from my review, and the closest I am to the author is following her on Twitter.

The book, itself

The Bold Seduction (of Professor Hornsyby) by Karyn Gerrard, was something I grabbed on sale for 99 cents. The premise was unusual- a male virgin, so I was intrigued to see what she would do with it, although I had never read anything by her before.

I am very glad I did.

I keep saying the problem isn’t that femdom content isn’t out there, it’s that it is seldom flagged as femdom. This particular novel manages to hit enough points to do better than many things that call themselves thus, and with the organization of the first annual Regency Femdom Week,  I would be remiss not to both review and promote this book.

Our hero, Philomena, or “Phil”, is a brothel madam who still occasionally sees clients. She’s now in her early 30s and doing very comfortably, but getting a little bit bored. Thus when she is hired by the well meaning friends of Spencer, the third son of a nobleman, to relieve him of his virginity, she takes the job herself. “Professor” Spencer is autistic, and as an austistic person (me), his portrayal is probably my favourite in fiction so far.

The book is from a short story, and now is the launch of a trilogy. I can see why she gave it a second pass and more fleshing out; it was well worth its increased length. Although it’s very much an erotic romance, there is no gratuitous sex, and an extremely slow burn story, as much about cooking and getting to know one another than bedroom romps. I usually skip the sex scenes in romances, and I never felt I needed to here.

This is not hard femdom, but (author) knows how to build a tease and denial atmosphere, replete with edging. Despite her mission, and the hero’s reluctance, our protagonist manages to reaffirm enthusiastic consent every step of the way. The convenient remote location and lack of transportation to and from the hero’s isolated house gives the characters space to get to know each other and her to respect the initial no without immediately leaving. If not strictly a Christmas romance, with the framing of New Years in the background, this is a Holiday story that holds up year round.

Content note to femdom hungry readers:

Although most of the sex is very directed and initiated by her, as Spencer starts to feel his oats, the heroine enjoys him taking a more assertive role occasionally.

It does not, however, disempower her or flip roles completely. He very innocently keeps joking about her being a queen in a way that I find is often a real life tell for a sub guy in the wild.

As a person who has done the sexual initiation thing, I generally find I appreciate knowing I have installed confidence into my target. I generally don’t code it as “dominant” in my emotional experience of his behaviour, but I enjoy Silver takes initiative and doesn’t confine himself to by the numbers submission.

This book does zero sadomasochism and manages to affirm enthusiastic content with natural regularity. There is no bondage, and no degradation. You won’t enjoy this if you are hunting harder kinks, but I found it nicely hit on the right notes for a naturally occurring FLR.

What about its success as a genre piece & romance?

There’s all the good stuff of a historical romance: Dresses. Navigating social class. Self discovery. Social ruin. The fantasy of inequality put in the service of feeling powerful. We don’t, thankfully, get a surprise extra level of enobling, but the hero is the third son of an Earl, so this isn’t strictly speaking the rare historical commoner romance.

Phil’s approach to sex work doesn’t go down quite so obnoxiously as many heroines, although this does do the “only client I actually ever was attracted to”. She is a victim of an abduction into her trade, which I was a little cautious of, and a little foreshadowing that her wicked aunt and uncle may have intentionally disposed of her into this state of social ruin. Luckily this book doesn’t assert all sex workers are victims, but touches on her colleagues having a huge scope of different experiences and relationships with what they do for a living.

Buried in all this, however, is a very lovely story about the isolation of trauma. Maybe this is particular to me, my autism exists in a space of unclear beginning/end between serious business abuse I survived. Spencer and Phil are both living in self imposed silos of isolation because of abuse, and that’s rather the connection point I can understand how they get each other.

Emotionally Avoidant People In Love

Phil and Spencer are using intense self reliance as a means to be safe, and neither is very trusting. Spencer overtly is never sure if he can trust the good intentions of anyone but his family due to very real past experiences. Phil, meanwhile, repeatedly remarks she respects, but isn’t close to her colleagues in her business, with a very obvious theme of nurturing but arms length to them. For example, a character mentioned repeatedly, but not introduced “Darius” her business’s security, is a rescue from a back alley beating, and I can bet that her “nobody cares about me” attitude never uttered self pityingly, is ruthlessly enforced. 

Spencer makes her feel safe because she is so busy unpuzzling him and accommodating, that the inevitable love sneaks up and grabs her unawares. She makes him feel safe because she narrates everything she is doing with him and takes the time to explain something he’s hitherto been exposed to as something humans are supposed to automatically figure out.

Another thing I found pleasant in Gerrard’s depiction of autism was that she skipped the trope of inherent misanthropy. The hero is withdrawn, not because he can’t connect with people, but because the experience of being autistic has provided repeated trauma, both sensory processing and socially. We learn his inevitable social class fueled boarding school experience was an exercise in learning to suppress to survive. But we also see a family that, like every family tree with autism in it, has learned to accommodate.

What Spencer has, that Phil doesn’t, is a foundation of being loved by family, that he is able to share, in turn, by loving her.

And (hooray!), he is no Rain Man. True, he is an academic, but he’s not framed as a magic savant, just a guy with a strong knack for his field of study. I also had to grin when I saw him doggedly (and implied accurately) using the medium of classical history to understand human behaviour- oops, hello me! He also isn’t a particularly successful scholar as far as achievement- his “Professor” is a courtesy title he’s chasing because he seems to be trying to leverage his talents to overcome his disability.

Spencer also wanders around being boggled Phil doesn’t send him into a meltdown, again, see me with a big Cheshire cat grin. With spectrum disorders you can come to believe your worst is normal. In reality, the severity goes up and down with how stressed you are, so a discovery of a modicum of empathy and acceptance can seem miraculous.

Although I don’t consider saying their is a HEA is a spoiler, I am going to park a more tag before I touch on the climax of the novel.

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