Around the Dinner Table

Who is Alison, the titular character?

In writing the story, “Cheerleader’s Awakening,” which is a working title right now, I’m focusing first on Alison. Alison is the cheerleader in college.  We get a good look at her sexual activity from start to …. wherever it goes.

You can say that Alison is based off of a typical suburban girl who grew up in the 90’s. Obviously, she’s been adapted to fit today’s standards of stuff like smartphones and ubiquitous internet. There were days not so long ago that the internet was a luxury, and nothing personal was on there.

Alison is fundamentally flawed because she believes in the power of her own will too much. We see her fail over and over at gauging situations and believing that she is in control, losing that control, and then re-writing history to suit her version of it.

Granted, this is mostly a defensive mechanism. The reader is experiencing her story through her words. She is the narrator in the story, or in book 1 of Around the Dinner Table.  It is through her voice that we experience the growth of her sexuality.

I made a decision immediately to attempt to tell her story with as much sex as possible. I wanted the circumstances of the story to come through as a part of the sex. Matthew and Alison’s sex life after their initial virginity losing experience gives a description of their failing relationship. It should be apparent the resentment Alison has for him, especially at the frat house. This is decent foreshadowing too, as she hits her lowest point at a frat house in chapter 05. I thought that low point was Matthew, stoned, having sex with Alison on a futon in a dirty filthy tiny frat room, with a used condom waiting underneath her the whole time.

We see Alison believe that she is going to do something simple, something small, and her partners misinterpret her signals for something more. This is a common experience for women every day. We can go through life existing in a totally benign and innocent way, but the men around us can read into our skirts, our blouses, and our bra straps a “desire to want them.” They’ll say things like, “You knew I wanted it. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have worn that dress.” Like I have to want to do some moron just because I happened to wear a dress I thought I looked good in out in public? Alison experiences this repeatedly through her attempts at sexual interaction, usually fairly tame: blowjob, make-out, kissing, grinding, finger play. The men she is with, push. They push farther than she would ever had imagined before the act.

Yet, Alison never says, “NO.” Directly. She believes she has this power to be in control and command of her life, but when she’s met with a domineering male or female she captitulates and lets them take over. She endures. She moves from this active go-getter to a passive receiver of whatever depraved and sorid acts they want to do to her.

The goal, of course, is to get us to cheer for her. to encourage her to stand up to there ridiculous abusive men. We want her to fight back and take the reigns. And we do see that. We see her break up with Matthew when his disregard gets too much. We see her take charge of Hank, and we see her teach and take command of Gene. There are moments in every experience she has, that highlights her potential dominat sexuality, if she chooses to excersize it.

Too often, the trope of female sexuality is being used by the men. That has it’s place here and Alison is used as a hole on numerous occasions. She needs to have that dehumanization so she can overcome it. The struggle of her experience is interesting, and ultimately, what we want to read about.

In an ideal, bed cover reading, happy home, no woman would endure the abuse and degradation Alison receives in order to achieve her self respect and sexual confidence. I’d love for all women to be in control of their own lives and their own sexual experiences in the fashion they wish: without the extraneous pressures of male dominance hovering over every action. When you don’t live in fear of being beaten to death by the person you’re sleeping next to, you have inherent power. Like white privalage, men (many) don’t fully understand what it is to be sexually involved with a person who can force you to do what they want at any moment. Any power women really have is after the fact, or in response to. Rarely is it physically dominat and even less often, do women have social or financial control over the man.

So where does that leave us with Alison. She is confident, smart, and powerful. She has a spirit of hard work proven through her studies, college success (scholastically) and position on the college cheerleading squad. The implication given that she has worked hard to achieve her goals. She is competent in dance, gymnastics, goes to the gym regularly, eats well, and has a happy relationship with her parents. Her first sexual experience is with her high school boyfriend, and it is a loving gentle experience. She wasn’t abused or raped as a child.

She doesn’t turn to sex to fill a void, but to explore the excitement and pleasure of it. Alison enjoys sex, and as seen in the first car scene with Matthew, she takes control of the situation to reach satisfaction, although still feels a little guilty about it. She isn’t soulless.

Finally, much of this is to set in juxtaposition her relationship with her family at the dinner table. We get the impression at dinner of a naive innocent girl who loves her “daddy.” One of the visions for this book was setting that scene and immediately following it with Alison having a dick in her mouth, or a cock up her  butt. That jarring disconnect is interesting, and you can be a sexual dynamo but still be “daddy’s little girl.” You can be that princess and jewel of his eye that will never do anything wrong. And you can also be a sexually powerful woman who enjoys anal, enjoys the power and excitement of a blowjob, and who has active orgasmic sex with men. Those are not mutually exclusive people, and Alison straddles both. She just isn’t in control yet.

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