Finding Lucky, Part I

This is where I admit the truth. I wrote my queer erotic romance novel, Behrouz Gets Lucky on a whim and a prayer. Behrouz is loosely based upon myself. No, that’s not true. In the most important ways, Behrouz fits me like a bespoke Saville Row suit. When I was 16 and living in Tehran, I had a gay English boyfriend named David Brooks. David was a beautiful green-eyed, long-haired boy, glamorous with a touch of glitter rock. When our family moved from Tehran to the States in 1971, David asked me to bring him a purple velvet suit that he’d commissioned to be sewn by a Tehrani tailor. I lusted for that Nehru suit far more than I’d ever lusted for any garment. The character of Behrouz fit me like that coveted purple velvet, glam rock suit.

The truth is that I was driven to write the first chapter of Behrouz Gets Lucky out of frustration with dating, fucking, and romance. It had been several years since I’d had a girlfriend, or even a fling. In gestational mockery, I’d had a one-night bout of bad breakup sex nine months after I’d started taking testosterone, and during that episode I was so angst ridden and tense that although I normally come with the snap of a nitrile glove, I couldn’t even manage one orgasm.

After the break-up, I’d had a series of singular dates, but nothing really stuck. Either I wasn’t interested, or they weren’t interested. My OKCupid profile was witty and well written; I was a “Daddy in the streets, and a strumpet between the sheets”, but I what I yearned for was taboo; I was a trans-butch seeking a butch. Masculine-of-center pairings were not common and were frowned upon in the dyke community. Not only that, I was just another bottom in an ocean of eager bottoms, all younger and more pliable than my cantankerous, sixty-year-old balding self.

In December of 2014, I was 50,000 words into writing my memoir, and had hit a blockade. Everything I wrote had the consistency of congealed oatmeal. It was lumpy and boring. I hated my writing, was horny and lonely, and my general funk was exacerbated by the holidays. I wrote the first chapter of Behrouz Gets Lucky while in a gloom-pot of holiday bachelorhood. I decided to write a smutty story that described my ideal OKCupid first date. In it, two older queers named Behrouz and Lucky meet up, flirt over tea, meander in the twilight to Behrouz’s apartment where Behrouz gets beaten then fisted, and then they eat an after-fuck omelet while listening to Marlene Dietrich. The object of my affections is erudite, witty, well-dressed, kind, creative, and kinky. I named myself Behrouz, a name that loosely translated from Farsi means fortunate. My paramour was named Lucky. I felt not so modestly clever at my play on words.

Writing that first chapter was so much fun that I decided to write a series of stories about Behrouz and Lucky’s fuck adventures. Initially, it was going to be a book of smutty short stories with a relevant recipe after each story, perhaps my pound cake recipe after a baseball bat beating scene. I quickly dropped the recipe idea as too cute, but wrote a couple more stories. I was still lonely, sexless, and dateless, so I decided to become more proactive with finding a lover. This is where everything gets woo-woo. I apologize for this. I’ve never given a trigger warning in my life, but I’m giving one here. If bat-shit, weird San Francisco woo-woo stuff triggers you, then stop reading right now. I mean it. I’m using the mom don’t-fuck-with-me, stern voice, can’t you tell?

I decided to manifest a lover by writing a novel where I’d describe them and the life that I desired. Yep. Why not? Dating wasn’t working, so what did I have to lose by this less orthodox method? I laid out a plot, made a Pinterest board with Behrouz and Lucky’s clothing and eventually their household furnishings, wrote character notes on everyone in the book including the cats, then got to it. I was careful about what I wished for. It took weeks of indecision before I decided that Behrouz and Lucky could live together, and more time before I decided that they could share a bedroom. I had to genuinely ponder whether I could actually share a bedroom with a lover before Behrouz and Lucky shared a bedroom in the book. I gave Behrouz The Voice of Doom, which was my real life internal voice that I’d had since I was a little girl. The Voice that I honed in 1961 while sitting in the back seat of a jeep that was careening down a narrow road over the Caspian Sea mountains in Iran.

Lucky’s character traits were much easier. At 60, I knew what I liked and I was reasonably certain what I didn’t like. I enjoyed lovers that were more extroverted than me and that were sexually charismatic. They needed to be creative and kind-hearted. They needed to be highly sexual and a top. They needed to be a joyous cook and to fetishize domesticity. They needed to be about ten years younger than me and enjoy reading. They needed to be patient and adept at communication. I carefully wrote all this into Lucky’s character. There were little snippets that I threw in because some seasoning always helps; they were a flavored salt whore and were a more casual dresser than Behrouz, favoring greys and blues to complement my love of warmer colors. I am not a minimalist writer, so Behrouz Gets Lucky was piled with details.

I confided with my friend, co-worker, and test reader Tony about my magical scheme. Tony was also looking for love. He was a middle-aged gay man who had a propensity for dating fixer-uppers, men with Big Issues, usually involving too many drugs, mental illness, and irresponsibility. Tony yearned to date a peer, more specifically, a sweet Southern man who was kind, funny, sexy, a bottom, and gainfully employed. Tony loved my book, Cleis agreed to publish it, I sent my spell into the universe, and waited for my Prince Charming to fall out of the sky.

Tony’s prince fell into his lap first. Tony and Michael met on some sex hook-up app, but it didn’t exactly take. Oddly enough, Michael was exactly what Tony had been pining for, a sweet Southern lawyer who yearned to cook for someone who’d tie him up and fuck the bejesus out of him after a long day at the office. After a few false starts, Tony and Michael started fucking and dating. They quickly made like dykes with a share in U-Haul stock; within six months they’d fallen in love, at eight months were looking at wedding rings behind one another’s backs, and at ten months they announced their engagement. Tony attributed his romantic success to my book, and confided that when they were courting he’d often ask himself, “What would Behrouz do?” to walk himself through sticky challenges.

I was still dateless and fuckless, and truthfully, I kind of forgot about the spell. I missed writing though, so I wrote a sequel to Behrouz Gets Lucky, called Doily is my Safeword. Doily is my Safeword was the story of their domestic life. Behrouz and Lucky were now in love, married, and settled down…now what? In Doily is my Safeword, I elaborated upon Lucky, including traits such as a slight memory loss due to age and a desire to switch from top to bottom occasionally. After I finished writing Doily is my Safeword, I started another fabulous and grand queer project, co editing, drawing, and writing the biographies for the Butch Lesbians of the 20s, 30s, and 40s Coloring Book. I continued to look for a publisher for Doily is my Safeword, and The Butch Lesbians of the 20s, 30s, and 40s Coloring Book was published by Stacked Deck Press in June of 2017.

By May 2017, I was an expert at leisurely jerking off on Sundays, the loneliest day of the week for bachelors, and I’d given up on the idea of finding a lover. I was 62 and as far as I was concerned, that part of my life was completed. I was prepared to lead the life of a big city bachelor with their cat and a passel of creative projects. I’d never been so happily creative in my life and was enjoying the confidence that came with completing successful projects. It was right around then that an old friend of mine convinced me to join a large private Facebook group for people that liked butches. Although there were people with many identities and orientations in the group, it seemed to be mostly folks that were interested in butch-femme dynamics. I was fine with that, after all, at this point in my life, I was busy becoming a crankypants elder writer looking for friends and conversation. I’d been part of the group for a couple of weeks, when I decided to be brave and ask if there were any people in the group of over 5,500 members that were into butch-butch romantic relationships. This started a lively discussion in the group, however the upshot was that there was another Facebook group specifically geared towards butches that were romantically interested in other butches. I decided to check out the group. To be continued……

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The Vocabulary of BDSM: playing the scene


I’m a 62-year-old cranky pants. If I had a cane, I’d whack all the young whippersnappers with it, grumbling all the way. This natural tendency towards being a tweedy curmudgeon is exasperated by many mannerisms including underuse of the Oxford comma, aimlessly texting while walking, sitting on the outer seat in public transportation while leaving the inner seat vacant, and the use of the word “play”, “playroom”, and “scene” within a BDSM context.

This is an issue for me because I write kinky smut and I enjoy doing kinky things. But not at the same time; I have my standards, and namby-pamby as they may be. If you were a voyeur gleefully watching me get flogged and fisted, you’d say that I play during scenes, and I would disagree vehemently. Then I would whack you with the nearest stick…not really.

I’m exceedingly pleased that I wrote my smutty novel, Behrouz Gets Lucky, without using the word “scene” once, only using “play” when followed by “party”, but it was difficult. This is the standard vocabulary that one uses in this country when describing sadomasochistic activities. One plays with their play partner within a scene.

Why does this annoy the fuck out of me? Some of it is my innate mistrust of colloquialisms. I grew up using a slightly formal vocabulary devoid of colloquialisms. Because I traveled from culture to culture as a child, I never developed an ability to use slang. Slang changed so rapidly as I moved from country to country that I couldn’t keep up, so I gave up. Colloquialisms now intimidate me. The hairstyle term “fade” is another colloquialism that I have difficulties saying; I have tried to say it casually, but feel like a faker of the worst sort each time the word leaves my lips. And it took me an entire year of practice before I could say “awesome” like I meant it. I’m just not a casual person.

Another part of my crankiness is my associations with these words; “scene” makes me think of acting, and “play” feels too childlike. I’m certainly not acting when I’m sobbing in pain and devotion as my lover beats me. If anything, I’m the opposite of acting; this is one of my truest selves. As to my problems with the word “play”, I will own up to that issue. I’m serious; having childlike or spontaneous fun is not one of my talents. When I play, I do so intently. I associate the word play with being childlike, and being childlike feels too vulnerable. I also don’t like to mix childlike words with adult activities and sadomasochistic behavior. I want to prissily declare, “Children have no place in the playroom.”, but there you go. I just said “playroom.”

I can substitute “dungeon” or “bedroom” for “playroom” with ease. I can avoid the word “scene” without much trouble. “Play” is a whole other story though. Any alternative is going to be wordy and awkward. Take the simple declarative sentence, “I’d like to play with you” and remove “play.” ‘I’d like to tie you up, flog you, and then fist you” is a little too wordy and specific. Or how about, “Behrouz and Lucky were play partners” becomes ”Behrouz and Lucky were sadomasochistic lovers.”

How can I describe what I do and what my characters do if I find modern vocabulary terms objectionable? I recognize that these are the words that my audience is accustomed to, however I can’t bring myself to utilize them. On the other hand, if my goal is to translate the vision in my mind into words, using standardized vocabulary certainly assists in that process.’I want to be deliberate with my word choices, use words that are descriptive, poetic, and accessible. If my work is not accessible, then does my work matter?

I have no conclusions, except that my brain is an immense pain in the ass. “Scene” and “play” (along with it’s variations) will continue to annoy me, I can evade using “scene” and “playroom”, but “play” seems unavoidable, and inventing a BDSM vocabulary seems pretentious. If any of my readers have any feedback or ideas, I’m open.


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“My Dog” – at Sugarbutch!

collarI’m so excited, “My Dog”, my new romantic, filthy early morning fuck story is now available on Sinclair Sexsmith’s Sugarbutch! “I’m a morning person, but it’s early, too early even for me, when you wake me up with a soft growl. It’s low in your throat, a menacing promise, thick and thrilling. It goes straight to my cunt, flooding me, my flesh starting to swell, my cock’s morning wood hardening from pine to oak. I wake up, fuzzy-headed, with a start as I feel your hot breath on my neck. You smell like deep shadowed forests and green riverbanks when you become the dog, all dank and feral, ready to take what is yours. I’m half in dreamland, that nebulous point where reality is hazy.

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Sexual Pleasure in Fiction

What would happen if novels were rewritten with the sexual stories included? Not just included as an afterthought, but as important narrative devices. Having sex or BDSM play is typically a crucial component to developing romantic intimacy. If we want to see our characters fall in love or lust, let’s see it all. Show us flesh, skin, sensation, and heart. What day of the week was it? How did their skin taste? Where did this happen? And let’s just call it fiction, rather than compartmentalize get it by naming it smut.

What would the iconic dyke coming out novel, Rubyfruit Jungle, have looked like if detailed, lascivious sex was included? What if Molly and Loeta’s night together didn’t end teasingly with “And I soon found out”? In Molly’s torrid affair with Alice, sex was described as, “Alice steamed and shook and sighed…she loved being touched and she loved touching back”, but I longed for a more visceral description of sexual pleasure and bodies, instead of this delicate hint. Sensuous yet explicit sexual guidance would have soothed many a baby dyke’s nerves and provided affirmation of her sexual self-worth. Internalized homophobia would begin to dissipate.

Fiction that includes explicit sex is categorized in several ways, and the major ones are erotica, pornography, artsy, and erotic romance. With the possible exception of artsy, none of these categories are viewed as having any literary merit and are often scorned. The exclusion of sexuality and bodies in fiction perpetrates sexual shame and leaves us without fully realized literary role models. Although this lack of modeling in fiction is problematic for all people, it is particularly problematic for anyone struggling with their gender identity or their sexual orientation.

At what point does fiction cross the line from fiction to erotica, pornography, or erotic romance? How many explicit sexual acts, say blowjobs, are permitted per book? Does it make a difference if the blowjob is mentioned fleetingly, or if it is described graphically? What if it is described sensually or using metaphors? Does it make a difference who is sucking who? Do silicone or trans cocks automatically make it a sort of situational smut, even if the blowjob is the smallest fraction of the story? Is smut the narrative of sex without life, making fiction the narrative of life without sex? Why do we compartmentalize our lives, subtracting such a primal and basic pleasure from art? I believe that we censor pleasure from fiction due to a conglomeration of religion, shame, and power. If the power of sexual pleasure were shown and was culturally acknowledged without shaming, the world would change.

What would happen if sex was not compartmentalized in art or life? What if it wasn’t the dirty, private, faintly shameful function that it so often becomes? Could novels include realistic depictions of sex, side-by-side with the rest of the storytelling narrative? I long for that expansion of fiction, the inclusion of sexual pleasure.

Sex and sexual attraction are powerfully primal. Is that why we are reluctant to depict it? Romance novels sometimes depict sexuality in all its fleshy glory, but I am not interested their narrative tropes. I found such tropes as the powerful hero, the inexperienced younger woman, the millionaire, broken birds, and the rescue a turn-off at worst, and uninteresting at best. Then there’s bad boy fiction such as Henry Miller’s, but that sex was too misogynistic and gloomy.

These are some of the questions that I asked myself before writing Behrouz Gets Lucky. Like most of us, sexual pleasure is crucial in my life. I start many days with masturbation and an orgasm, have ended romantic relationships when the sex didn’t work, and stayed in relationships past their natural expiration date because of amazing sex. I’m 61 years old and hope to be having orgasms until I die.

I knew that I wanted to treat sex with as much importance as any other action in my book; a blowjob had to include as much detail as morning coffee and conversation. I wrote a list of sexual and BDSM situations that I wanted to include in the book, making a sex storyline. Then I added a nonsexual storyline to the sex storyline. Behrouz Gets Lucky was the story of a kinky, sensual couple’s courtship, from their first date onwards; if I glossed over the sex, it would not be realistic.

It is important to tell our stories, the ones that we hold in our hearts, our minds, and our bodies. This is how we know that we aren’t alone, and how we build a world where sexual pleasure is given the dignity and respect that it deserves. Silence and shame do not beget sexual healing. As writers, we need to begin the habit of incorporating sex into our fiction. As readers, we need to ask for it! Ask our favorite authors where they’ve hidden the sex, ask librarians and bookstore owners for fiction with depictions of sexual pleasure in their plots, write reviews on Amazon and Good Reads commending books that are inclusive of sexual pleasure and asking for it in books where it is missing. This is how we change the world, orgasms flanked by grocery shopping, walking the dog, and grousing about the rising cost of living, one book at a time.

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The Butch Lesbians of the 20s, 30s, and 40s Coloring Book is Here!

tara unpacking coloring book.jpg

It’s a whole gaggle of very grownup butches! The Butch Lesbians of the 20s, 30s, and 40s Coloring Book has arrived – 38 fabulous butches plus 11 pages of bad-ass butch history!

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