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Everything My Chest Got Me in Life: Revisited

[ discussion of puberty, gender dysphoria, and dislike of secondary-sex characteristics traditionally associated with women. body horror overtones/undertones ]

Seven years ago, I wrote a blog post called Everything That My Tits Have Gotten Me in Life.

While I still stand by every word of it, my reading of my own words has changed a lot in the time since I wrote it. As the memes say, big oof.

Misogyny sucks, but, uh, it turns out that sublimated body dysphoria sucks, too.

Continue reading “Everything My Chest Got Me in Life: Revisited”

Everything My Chest Got Me in Life: Revisited

My White Whale: A List of Non-Mint Fluoridated Adult Toothpastes

Update 23 Dec 2020: This is one of my most popular posts ever. It looks like I’m very much not alone! I’ve added info about n-ha to the Carifree description. I’ve also added my review of Kingfisher Fennel and Tom’s of Maine Strawberry Fluoride rinse.

My latest stuck-at-home low-stakes project is finding a good non-mint toothpaste with fluoride. The extreme flavor of mint toothpaste makes me balk at brushing; what if I want to eat or drink or sleep not long afterwards? Mint sometimes is a sensory nightmare for me, so I’ll avoid it especially when I’m already stressed out. Not brushing is already easy enough to do when stuck at home without a routine and without external motivation to de-stink your mouth for others’ benefit. Having nice-tasting toothpaste — or even just not painfully-tingly toothpaste — means brushing more regularly.

a variety of toothpaste tubes and a bottle of mouthwash arranged on a blue pillowcase

Here’s the tl;dr list of not-overly-minty fluoridated toothpastes that I recommend.

  • Top Overall Pick: Twice Twilight
    Though its flavor is described as “peppermint with vanilla and lavender”, it’s incredibly gentle and pleasant with very little mint. Available online or at select CVS locations.
  • Truly mint-free, for special concerns: Carifree CTX4 Gel 1100
    A unique re-mineralizing formula that keeps your teeth plaque-free for an almost disconcerting amount of time. Both the Citrus and Grape flavors are fully mint-free. Available at multiple online outlets.
  • A mint-free, not-too-sweet kids’ toothpaste: Tom’s of Maine Outrageous Orange Mango
    I wasn’t impressed by it but others seem to love it. Available at some retail stores and online. Be sure to get a fluoride rinse if you’re not a very young child and you plan to use this as your primary toothpaste.
  • Best traditional adult toothpaste: Colgate Active Lemon & Salt Healthy White Toothpaste
    Made for the Indian market, it’s a pretty standard toothpaste but without the harsh mint. I found the lemon to be pleasant and the mint to be almost not there; I couldn’t taste the salt much at all. Available online if you’re outside of the Indian market.
  • Most interesting flavor: Kingfisher Fennel Toothpaste
    Don’t buy this British toothpaste unless you know you love fennel. I love fennel, so I love this. Available online if you’re outside of Britain.
  • Easiest to find: Arm & Hammer
    Though I’ve not tried it, enough people I know have recommended the brand to me that I feel fine about endorsing it. The lines specifically mentioned to me were Arm & Hammer EssentialsArm & Hammer PeroxiCare, and Arm & Hammer Sensitive. You can find it pretty much anywhere toothpaste is sold.

Note: If you are concerned about the vegan and cruelty-free status of toothpaste, see Ethical Elephant for a list of brands. The list should include Twice as it’s both cruelty-free and vegan. Kingfisher is also listed as fully vegan on their site.

Far too many details regarding my toothpaste quest and experiences, including the ones I recommend you avoid, are below the fold.

Continue reading “My White Whale: A List of Non-Mint Fluoridated Adult Toothpastes”

My White Whale: A List of Non-Mint Fluoridated Adult Toothpastes

Skepticon Trivia Fundraiser: Play-Testers Wanted!

I’m going to be running an online trivia fundraiser for Skepticon in about a month and I need play-testers.

The only requirements are that you:

  • have a Facebook account (I’m running it via private FB group)
  • are capable of not leaking the content to anyone at any time prior to the event, and
  • want to do it.

That’s it! You don’t even have to know what Skepticon is, be good at trivia, or anything like that.

I’m also open to your ideas for questions and topics that you think Skepticon attendees would enjoy. I’m happy to credit you for it if I use it.

Skepticon Trivia Fundraiser: Play-Testers Wanted!

Arranged Marriage Culture: You Know Even Less Than You Think

Someone posted something on that endless source of schadenfreude, r/AITA (Am I the Asshole?), that made the rounds yesterday. Most of the responses I saw to the situation rubbed me entirely the wrong way. I immediately saw the situation as one arising from arranged marriage culture, likely Desi, and few to no responses seemed to take that into consideration.

I know, big surprise. Reddit, known for harboring mostly white people and coddling the worst of white men, doesn’t understand Desi arranged marriage culture. At the same time, the responses I saw on Twitter and Facebook were no better, even those from non-Desis who claimed to understand arranged marriages.

It turns out that I 100% called it. The AITA OP revealed herself to be Indian several updates in. If you’re not from an Indian or similar culture, you’re probably missing a great deal of context and understanding, and therefore misinterpreting a great deal about the post. I don’t care how many Desis you claim to know and love.

While this is just one post on the Internet, the way people interpreted it reveals a lot about the difference in mindset between typical Western dating/love marriage culture and Desi arranged marriage culture. While I wouldn’t say OP is some kind of angel, she’s not exactly the mustache-twirling villain Reddit and others decided she is.

Continue reading “Arranged Marriage Culture: You Know Even Less Than You Think”

Arranged Marriage Culture: You Know Even Less Than You Think

When They All Look the Same to You

The first time a white person mistook someone else for me, I was a teenager being scolded for offending someone I’d never met. I’ve also offended white people by failing to notice a trait, or imprecisely labeling a trait, that they considered to be practically personality-defining. These two types of mistakes are more related than not and shed light onto how “they” truly can all look the same to you.

If you find yourself mistaking one member of a certain ethnic group for another, you can improve by rethinking how you tell people apart.
Continue reading “When They All Look the Same to You”

When They All Look the Same to You

On telling them what you want

Content Notice for detailed accounts of sexual unpleasantry and mentions of sexual assault. For the sake of this post, “men” are “people categorized as straight men by society” and “us” are “people not seen as men by society.”

An ex of mine, who is otherwise a decent person, didn’t believe me when I told him that I didn’t want flowers. How absurd! All women want flowers, even the ones who say they don’t. Here, have the flowers that you want. And I had to stop protesting and accept the flowers because who complains about getting flowers? When he asked, I told him I dried and kept them for posterity, because I figured out that he would only hear what he wanted to hear. Years later, a man told me he didn’t understand why Jessica Jones was “such a bitch” about Killgrave doing something nice for her, like acquiring her childhood home and refurbishing it for her.

The sexual context is no different when it comes to men demanding we not only not ask for what we want, but also gratefully accept what they want to give us.

When we talk about what happens when we get into bed with men, no matter how jokingly or seriously, we get told to “just tell them”. Orgasm gap? What orgasm gap? Just tell them! Put on your “big girl panties” and ask for what you want! Walk away with your middle fingers raised in the air if they don’t do what you want! Communicate!

Yet communicating my wants has never been my issue. I spoke, and spoke, and spoke, through my many pants-less encounters with men. How much I spoke didn’t matter when the only one listening was me.

Continue reading “On telling them what you want”

On telling them what you want

Is believing in an afterlife really so comforting?

It’s hard to not think about death right now.

One of the most commonly-cited criticisms of atheism is the lack of comfort it offers in the face of death and tragedy. Atheism doesn’t provide any kind of solace when loved ones and innocent people die, the reasoning goes, so why rob people of that happiness?

I can’t say that I relate to that line of thinking at all, personally.

The vice I felt tightening around my godless heart as I read through as much of the New York Times front page list as I could stand? The pain couldn’t compare in the slightest to the soul-crushing agony I used to go through upon the most minor news of tragedy when I was a Muslim. When I was a believer, that allegedly comforting belief in an afterlife was agonizing torture. Continue reading “Is believing in an afterlife really so comforting?”

Is believing in an afterlife really so comforting?

Please don’t punish your partners with public phone-reads of my posts

Today I learned that this blog has fomented marital strife in the lives of strangers.

From today’s Ask Amy column:

Dear Amy: I’m writing about a curious thing my husband does that tends to hurt my feelings. I’m not sure how inconsiderate he may be or how oversensitive I may be.

He tends to look for negative information about people and things I like. He also does this for things he likes.

For the most recent example, I regularly read the web comic xkcd. For no obvious reason, at dinner on Sunday, he handed me his phone with a lengthy blog post from a philosophy major about how dismissive the author of xkcd is toward people outside the STEM fields.

I’m not completely unsympathetic to philosophy majors, but I don’t really care. It’s just a funny comic.

That’s my work he printed out and pushed into his spouse’s face. My recent post.

Oops? Continue reading “Please don’t punish your partners with public phone-reads of my posts”

Please don’t punish your partners with public phone-reads of my posts

When penguins waddle onto thin ice

Content Notice: Discussions of cisheterosexual norms, sexual activity, and consent

There’s often a tension between reality and principles that is difficult to articulate except in context.

My ethical values include upholding consent in every way, shape, and form. That includes engaging in sexual activity without as few assumptions as possible regarding what the other person wants. And yet today, I found myself more concerned with the sexual imbalance and disparity targeted by a statement than that statement’s less-than-consensual implications.

Continue reading “When penguins waddle onto thin ice”

When penguins waddle onto thin ice