Episode Thirty One
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Monstrous Agonies E31S01 Transcript
[Title music: slow, bluesy jazz.]
Monstrous Agonies: Episode Thirty One.
[The music fades out, replaced by the sound of a radio being tuned. It scrolls through rock music, a voice saying “-lot of vaccinating-” and pop music before cutting off abruptly as it reaches the correct station.]
-mist that rises on the pine-fringed mountain, and a distant, neon flicker.
Time now for our weekly advice segment, where I answer listeners' questions about life, love and all things liminal.
[Background music begins: An acoustic guitar playing a blues riff]
You're listening to the Nightfolk Network. Everywhere, every when on 131.3FM.
[End background music]
Our first letter tonight is from a listener feeling intimidated by the idea of intimacy.
The Presenter (as First Letter Writer)
I've been single for a little while now – my last break-up was not pretty, and I thought I was doing alright, you know, just getting on with things. But apparently my housemate disagrees.
She's my best friend in the whole world, and the other week she turned to me and was like, Sasha, we are going out. And I was like, sure, let's get drinks! And she was like, no. Not out. Out. As in, out out, as in out on the pull, out.
She says she's had enough of my moping and it's high time I got back out there. I didn't really fancy it at first but she talked me into it. There was a bar doing two for one on cocktails so we grabbed a few there before heading to a new creature club that'd opened in town.
I wasn't looking anything serious, you know? But as soon as I walked in, I saw her.
Head and shoulders and then some above the crowds. Eyes flashing like jewels. The flare of fire in her nostrils bright in the dark. The way the lights flashed off her scales, like she was some great, big, gorgeous mirrorball!
She was with some friends at the bar, and the way she arched her neck to laugh at something someone said... [sigh] Well, I forgot how to breathe for a moment!
Lou burst out laughing. She'd seen her too – she was kind of hard to miss – and had obviously noticed my reaction. And she was like, why not? And I was like, no, she's so out of my league! And Lou was like, don't be ridiculous. And I was like, oh my God will you shut up? And she was like, go on! Just ask her if you can buy her a drink!
Well, I... I did! And she said yes! And I bought her a drink. And another. And then she bought me one, and in between we talked and danced. Oh, she's the most incredible dancer, even with her wings tucked away. And look I know it's policy in most places and I understand why, they take up so much space! But God I'd give anything to see them unfurled under the club lights, and sit back and... watch her move.
I thought we'd go home together, but she didn't want to which is fine, obviously it's fine. But she gave me her number and I know it's not cool to text the next day but [laughing] I guess I'm not cool! Lou was laughing at me, she said even hungover to hell she could see the hearts in my eyes!
Turned out, Cordelia wanted to take things slow. She's had some trouble in the past with people who are just interested in her because of her body. You know the sort. And she wanted to be sure that I liked her for her own sake.
And I do. So much! And I mean, yes, I'm also really attracted to her. She's just about the most beautiful person I've ever seen. And yes, that's partly because of her genus. I love her wings. Her claws... The curve of her horns... The points of her teeth...
But it's not just that. It's like, the more I get to know her, the more beautiful she gets.
The only thing is that I've never been with anyone like her. She's like, five times my size in every direction. And I love it, I'm into it – not like, in a weird way, I'm just- [sighs] She's hot, alright?
But, um. Well, we haven't gone to bed together yet and I'm a bit anxious about it. I don't know what... What will feel good for her? Or how what I like will translate. I just don't want to do it wrong. I want her to have a good time. I want to have a good time! Is there anything I can do to sort of, make sure it's, you know... good?
The Presenter (as themselves)
There's a fairly simple answer to your question, listener. It's the same answer to anyone looking to have good sex, regardless of whether that's with a one-night-stand, a new partner, or a long-term lover. The answer is, as is so often the case: communication.
There will be certain challenges that your respective physiologies will bring up. You might benefit from doing a little research into your partner's genus in order to give you an idea of what to expect.
I don't recommend pornography for this – you would have to work extremely hard to find content that isn't fetishising and objectifying, and even without those concerns, pornography has about as much to do with real sex as the TARDIS has to do with real time machines.
You just want to learn enough that you know roughly how your partner's body might look, and what acts might prove unsuitable or... unwise.
Otherwise, this is the same challenge faced by any set of lovers. There will be differences in your tastes and preferences, and the only way you can navigate those differences is by talking about them.
It sounds as if there's a great deal of affection between the two of you, and that you've already built a good foundation of trust. Build on that. Work with your partner to find out how the two of you can make love in a way that is pleasurable for the both of you. And remember – this is supposed to be fun! There is no reason to have sex you don't enjoy.
Try to relax and trust that good sex doesn't happen all at once, but if you're open-minded and honest, you'll get there in the end.
[Background music begins: An acoustic guitar playing a blues riff]
Sponsored by Bacchus Party Planning – have you considered an orgy?
[End background music]
Tonight's second listener wonders how to reconnect with their family.
The Presenter (as Second Letter Writer)
Confession time - I don’t actually listen to your show very much. But what I've overheard coming from my mum’s lab in the middle of the night always sounds good, and I guess I’ll be hearing a lot more since I plan to listen every night until I hear you answer my letter. [laughs]
But please don’t take that as a reason to put off answering. I’ve waited long enough to address my problem, probably longer than I should have. I’ll keep listening to your show in future, I promise!
It's a bit weird to think of my brothers and I as growing up. We never did much growing, exactly - Mum added to us a bit here and there, but she probably took off just as much. But mentally, psychologically, socially, I guess we’re adults. Young adults.
Not that age has ever meant much in my family. My oldest brother has been alive twelve years longer than the youngest, but in terms of maturity I’d say they’re about the same. Maybe that shows Mum’s process has improved. Maybe it’s just their personalities.
I moved out a while ago to live with friends. I wanted to find out what it means to live my own life instead of just the one Mum built for me. She was totally supportive. It’s just that at home she was so much all the time. Sorry, Mum, if you’re listening. I love you! [laughs]
And now, you know, I call, I visit, my relationship with her is great! But with my brothers, it’s different. We went from living under the same roof, sharing everything – food, living space, spare limbs, stories of our days. Not because we chose to necessarily, but because we were just all always there. Their business was my business, and vice versa.
And honestly, I was looking forward to gaining a bit of privacy by moving out! But in the back of my mind I figured, it’s fine, everything will always be the same between us when I come back home.
It wasn’t. Things changed. They repainted the living room. Henry started playing guitar and didn’t tell me. Frank broke up with his girlfriend? Never mind that I hadn’t even found out he had a girlfriend until a week after it happened. He didn't even tell me, Mum did.
Then, Adam and Victor - the oldest and the youngest I mentioned before - moved out together two months ago. So I don't even see them when I visit any more.
I haven’t been in the same room with all of my brothers together in almost a year, and it's all too easy to go a month at a time without even talking to one of them. And I miss them. But I don’t know, maybe they don’t feel the same? None of them have done anything to show it...
Mum says, “Call them!” I can practically hear her saying that to the radio now. But I don’t even know how to start a conversation. They're my brothers. I’ve known them all my life, I can’t just start with, [silly voice] “Hello!”
Living at home we just told each other things by accident. And we were all busy then and we’re busier now. No one wants to stand on the phone in silence trying to find a good answer to, “How are you?”
The Presenter (as themselves)
First of all, you don't have to promise to listen to the programme in order to get me to respond to your letter. Apart from anything else, I don't have anything like that much control over which letters get chosen!
The selection process is not something into which I've ever wished to pry, but I can tell you this – the only rigid requirements for your letter being accepted are that it relates somehow to the creature community, and that you have written it in genuine need.
Now, to your letter. I'm afraid I'm going to have to say the words that no young adult, freshly flown from the family nest, wants to hear. Your mum is right.
This situation isn't going to be improved by your sitting silently wishing your brothers could somehow know what you need from them. It can be very hard when it feels like the communication in a relationship is one-way. But if you're honest with yourself, I think you'll see that isn't the case. You aren't telling them you miss them any more than they're telling you.
You and your brothers may not be growing in the traditional sense, but you are all becoming adults. And one of the hardest things in the world as an adult is making time and finding energy to spend with people outside the obligations of work and home.
It takes practice. You need to learn how to manage your schedule to make room for your brothers, as well as finding out how they each prefer to be communicated with. Perhaps a text would suit better than a phone call – I know the younger generations are apparently quite averse to talking on the phone.
You're stepping into a new phase of your relationship, engaging as friends, not only as family. But unlike other friendships, you already know each other inside out. You might not be sharing your lives or limbs as you used to, but you still have so many things in common – not least your unique upbringing.
Make the first move. Invite them over to see your new home, or arrange to visit your mother together. And trust me - “hello” is a perfectly good place to start.
Next tonight, I'm sure it hasn't escaped our listeners' notice that it's June! This month, as communities up and down the country celebrate wrath and related sins...
[The Presenter's voice fades into static as the radio is retuned. It scrolls through classical music, a voice saying “-do not resuscitate-”, and a voice saying, “-this advert-” before fading out.
Title music: slow, bluesy jazz. It plays throughout the closing credits.]
Episode Thirty One of Monstrous Agonies was written and performed by H.R. Owen.
This episode's second letter was based on a submission by Leslie. Thanks, friend!
To submit your own letters and suggestions, head over to our website at MonstrousAgonies.co.uk, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or find us on Tumblr at Monstrous Agonies.
You can also now find us on Twitter, @Monstrous_Pod.
You also can support the show by rating and reviewing it on iTunes, supporting us on Patreon at patreon.com/monstrousagonies, and sharing the programme with your friends and familiars.
This podcast is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. The theme tune is Dakota by Unheard Music Concepts.
Thanks for listening, and remember - the real monsters are the friends we made on the way.
[Fade to silence]