Being back in DC for the weekend
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While the conference was super interesting, it was equally interesting being back in DC again after years away. As much grief as SF gets for being a shithole, DC has noticeably deteriorated from when I left in 2017. I saw tents and homeless people and the CVS had their toothpaste locked up.
I rode the metro and rediscovered surly attendants and unintelligible stop announcements. I once again felt the men accosting me to sign up for information about their NGO and what it’s like to be surrounded by young white men in ill-fitting suits. I’ve missed getting 60 minutes of exercise without effort. Less so being one of the older people in the room.
What I miss most about DC is feeling like myself. I’m most myself when I’m learning and being challenged and talking about ideas with people who read non-fiction. I’m most myself when I’m meeting guys who study ancient Semitic languages and they tell me about South Arabian civilizational collapses before the rise of Islam over coffee. When I’m in a conversation with a policy analyst and think tank founder and they start digging into methodology. When we’re talking about porn and NEETs and someone looks up my claim about the age at which native-born men first marry versus immigrant men.
I miss it so much. I miss my witty friends. I miss feeling connected to the wider world. I miss laughing my ass off.
I thought if Alabama gets old I might move to New Orleans. But now I’m leaning toward DC. I still have so many friends there. And so many internet friends who come there every so often. I don’t think it’s the right move for me right now. I’m still getting to know Alabama. But it’s definitely in my heart and back pocket. And I hope to get to visit more often now that I’m on the East Coast.