Desserts at the Metaphor Cafe!
Four people sit around a table at a café, contemplating dessert. When the waiter arrives, they each proceed to order in a ridiculously over-descriptive manner, justifying their decisions for the purposes of this metaphor.
Person one: I would like some raspberry ripple ice cream. It’s a bit cheeky and it’s nice, but isn’t too wild. My partner also likes a bit of raspberry ripple.
Person two: I would like some chilli chocolate ice cream, with popping candy sprinkles and lime sauce. Ooh, and some extra chilli thrown on for good measure, because I like it hot and wild and what most people would consider a bit strange. And, actually, if you’ve got any sparklers in the kitchen, one of those on top would be fantastic.
Person three: I would just like a cup of coffee, please, because I don’t like ice cream, although that doesn’t mean I don’t like to share desserts with people I am close to.
Person four: I’ll have some vanilla ice cream, please.
Persons one, two and three all gasp and faint over-dramatically as the waiter internally bemoans taking the extra hours at the Metaphor Café when they could devote more time to their family and their passion for collecting tiny ceramic unicorns.
These people, unsurprisingly, are not talking about pudding.
‘Vanilla’ sex is a sort of byword for ‘plain’, which is really mean to delicious vanilla pods that live to bestow their lovely flavour on your potentially ungrateful taste-buds. There is no such thing as tasteless (even water has a flavour) and for that matter there should be no such thing as ‘basic’ sex.
Because vanilla is portrayed as so plain and so boring, people are made to feel (especially when talking with peers or reading women’s glossy magazines) that you simply MUST mix it up a bit to keep a partnership steady. When you set a standard line for ‘ordinary’, then by default you set parameters for ‘out of the ordinary’. In this exchange, Chilli chocolate is the weird person, too interested in their freaky hobbies, who is to be feared a little bit and avoided. Coffee is just asexual, which to some seems almost unthinkable. A person who doesn’t like ice cream? Both of them are two extremes, and it is expected that people who identify as aces or wild live according to extremes (never doing the deed without a riding crop or something latex, or never even wishing to hold the hand of another human being). Whilst both of these are, in fact, perfectly acceptable to whatever degree a person wishes to take them.
Shaming those who have tastes that are too ‘normal’ puts pressure on people to ignore their interests and ignore what makes them in favour of what they are expected to do. It’s a brand of shaming that ignores the fact that everyone likes the comfort of something simple and familiar once in a while… or all the time.
Vanilla sex is not boring. Full stop. Despite what the women’s magazines might be telling you, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of slap and tickle without the slapping OR the tickle. Similarly, the horizontal tango can be done to the same tune every time.
Main image: In The Kitchen With Kath