[LMB] flinch

Debbie lioness at bellsouth.net
Fri, 14 Nov 2003 20:17:24 -0600

>Note that Bel shares Miles's accent, <snip>

Which they both know is a put-on.  At the time Miles wasn't getting 
intimate with any Dendarii, especially one who could blow his 
cover.  That's one of the main reasons Elli led so many Advance Teams and 
espionage missions.

>Taura is an xenophobe's Worst Possible Thing. <snip>

"You know those folks tales where the Count challenges his only daughter's 
unacceptable suitor to do three impossible things?  Don't ever do that to 
Miles.  Just...don't." - ACC

>So, the flinch.  Unless we posit that Miles might have flinched in the 
>same scene at a caress from Elli, we have to conclude that Miles is - a 
>bit, at least - er, hermophobic.

"He was Betan enough not to mind it for others, but Barrayan enough not to 
want to try it for himself." - TWA

>Which is a fear, by definition.  An insecurity. A SHYNESS, if you 
>like.   Miles is afraid of his friend.  He flinches at the touch of his 
>friend.  He'd freak out at a full body hug and a wet sloppy open mouthed 
>kiss ...

For all his travels he's still a 22yo young man from a conservative 
culture.  This is not surprising.  My male friends at 22 weren't any 
better, and most weren't that mature.

(Dh & I once stayed up all night explaining to a 22yo guy friend the 
physiological differences between mature male and female brains.  I'll 
never forget the horror on his face when the Awful Realization finally sunk 
in at dawn.  "They really do think differently!"  Note he wasn't ready to 
try a gay relationship even then, which was my next question....)

Note Bel, for all his "vile sense of humor" (and how many of you think 
Miles develops that trait when he's older & mature enough to think he can 
get away with it?) respects this and doesn't push it that far.  The 
touching only gets more open when Miles is mature enough to handle it 
without freaking out, as seen when Bel first greets "Naismith" in MD.

<snip an excellent analysis> This all collapses in _ Memory_, though even 
by _ ACC_ the
>effects linger. (Miles restraining himself from courting Ekaterin dons the 
>Charlie McCarthy suit, slips into the tones of Oz the Great and Powerful, 
>and immediately and unreservedly commands the girl to come away with him. 
>) Here, Miles is PRETENDING to be shy, self-restrained, and distant.  And 
>STILL he brings up Naismith to speak his true desires.

But by the time he meets the Escobarans he's integrated Naismith's charisma 
back into Lord Vorkosigan's personna.

"'Who is that?'  And there was no doubt just WHO they were talking about."

><snip another excellent analysis>This is almost certainly not a game she 
>wants to play with Miles.  But she's, at least, out of practice with other 

I said "mild".  I doubt she even figured in her own fantasies.  If you 
think all women figure in their own fantasies, google "slash".  Note how 
much importance she later attaches to "owning" her desires.

And when it comes to sexuality I've seldom seen a person with a more crying 
need for "Let's Pretend."

>So, honeymoon at the Orb.  Therapeutic as well as recreational.
>Side note - I make no claim either way whether this represents my personal 
>reality or not, but as an
>illustration - think of a couple who enjoys Alpine Skiing. Very 
>fashionable outfits, -- some of which are also, though Incidentally, 
>functional/practical --  fancy equipment and toys, (ditto "functional") 
>beautiful venues, many post-  activity activities such as the hot tub, the 
>pit around the stone fire place, the massage table, the mulled cider bar 
>.. . a minor health risk if anything happened  to go badly wrong but 
>generally and overall a nice fitness boost for the participants.  Anyhow, 
>recreational sex is the same, right? Outfits, toys, venues, post-activity 
>activity .. .  At least, it ought to be similar.

I have no personal experience, but in the writings I've read by sexual 
therapists their work most often resembles any other type of counselor.  It 
mainly consists of listening, answering questions and calming fears.  Only 
the topic differs.  If it's an individual client, that client may disrobe 
and demonstrate, the therapist may position the client to help them 
understand exactly what's being talked about, but the shared touch is no 
more intimate than a good massage.  Couples usually stay clothed for their 
"couples" meetings.  The initial interview takes place in a counselor's 
office setting, only moving into a more intimate setting (and potentially 
more intimate contact) if and when the client is ready.

Now there's at least one clinic in Washington State and some seminars 
around the country that resemble your scenario, but the applicants are 
pre-screened and sign waivers beforehand.  I leave it to you to imagine 
which scenario a married woman from a conservative culture with a badly 
damaged sexual self-image would prefer.

>So, again, the Orb. I suspect that for Ekaterin the Orb is part of 
>developing a better attitude toward the activity. Finding a good coach, 
>doing a few exercises, stretching, trying on new outfits and new toys; 
>enjoying the venue. ..


>I _also _ expect that Miles had, heretofore, considered himself in no need 
>of instruction. <snip>    We are talking about the man who tastes rose 
>blossoms just because his horse likes to eat

So did my infant dd, and she'd never seen anyone or anything else do it!

>  who pretends to be an admiral, a plumber, an auditor, a detective - 
> whatever the immediate requirement. Training? He don't need no stinkin' 
> training!

We are also talking about a young man who watches others obsessively to 
learn from them and spends 3/4ths the time he was creating the Dendarii 
moaning about his lack of Academy training.  And someone who's #1 
characteristic is an insatiable curiosity.  And someone who genuinely 
enjoys learning new things.  I disagree.

>Except now it's important.


><snip> I'm still of the opinion that, after conversations with Dono and 
>Kareen, Ekaterin would have
>expectations of availing herself of a broader-than-mono viewpoint.   Who 
>can explain him to her and her to him better than it?

Viewpoint is one thing.  Experience is something different.

>And ANYHOW, part TWO ... we now come back around to Miles's 
>"Betaness".  He has always had the accent, the in-jokes, the disrespect 
>for authority.  But those reflexes ...  Bel offered to rub off the rough 
>edges, and Miles never accepted. But after acquiring Betan "polish" . 
>..  Miles's reactions to Bel in _DI _ are more open.  Even if he's now 

Betan "polish"?  Looked like "maturity" to me.

>Or so I speculate.  I feel as if Lois explicitly invites such speculation 
>about her folks' sex lives. That's mine.

Just try to stop us fans!

>I'm not sure "getting a good coach" constitutes "sharing", from a Betan 
>perspective.  My wife gives me maintenance haircuts - but for style, once 
>in a while, I go to a stylist.  I might even go to HER stylist.  This is 
>neither, I think, faithless nor divisive.  (My/our perspective on _other _ 
>services, as available in Texas, do differ from those of Betans, of course.)

A Betan might agree with you, but we're talking about a Barrayan.

> >First, why should visiting the Betan Orb mean sex with herms?
>It doesn't, of itself.  But Kareen's visit seemed to. Kareen was pleased 
>enough with the experience to discuss it. Ekaterin, lacking experience, 
>might very well take discussion as advice ...

That was Kareen's choice.  But the Orb is a full-service ice cream parlor, 
it offers more flavors than chocolate....

> >An LPST is a licensed sexual therapist.  Most sexual therapists don't 
> engage in sex with their clients
>True enough in Texas, 2003.  Probably even truer where ever you are.

Conservative culture, technologically backwards, Bad Reputation that was 
once fully justified, substandard health care, over-sentimentalized 
militaristic history,  "patriarchalism" that actually amounts to the women 
having to be 10 times tougher than the men....

I understand Barrayar so well it *scares* me.

>   I'm not sure that is true on Beta Colony.  One _can _  teach swimming 
> without wearing skimpy lewd clothes or  getting into the pool with the 
> student, too. (ObCazaril) But not everybody is going to do it that way. 
> Some impose more restriction on themselves, some less.

I'm sure such options are available, but in order to teach anything your 
lesson has to be calibrated to the needs and comfort level of your 
student.  You can't teach anything to a student who's too intimidated to 
listen. BTDT

> >Obviously sex with an LPST is appropriate in certain circumstances, such 
> as first encounters, sexual healing,
>I think M&E think that healing is exactly what E needs.

Yes, but see above.

> >brushing up on your technique
>I think both M&E would agree that, as long as one is there, ANYWAY ...

Miles before marriage.  After marriage, that's a different story.  At least 
to someone as consciously Barrayan Vor as he tries to be.

><snip>I suspect he never wanted _a_ herm.  His regret was for never 
>following up on an offer from one of his dearest friends, who had stopped 
>being "a herm" and become Bel.
>But he would never have let himself think of Bel "that way" until ... 
>well, something has changed.

Growing up is certainly a change.  So is getting married when you've looked 
as long and as hard as Miles.

>Bobkat >My preschoolers are hauling me off to bed so I'll have to wait 
>until tomorrow to properly introduce myself
>You see, MY kids have delayed my end of this conversation as well.   Well 
>met, fellow feline!

Thank you!  But now dh and they are about to physically drag me away from 
the keyboard for taking so long to answer this post.

><snip>  It's not amazing that Ekaterin has learned a lot in a year, but it 
>IS amazing she'd had time to do much _besides _ learn the role of Lady 

But what a wonderful experience, to finally be able to grow into herself!

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