Friday, January 25, 2008

It Has Come To My Attention....(Polyamory I)

That the quagmire of polyamory, which I have hinted at here and there, but not yet addressed full-on, needs to be explored here. Now.

I met someone a week ago who is an party/conference/event acquaintance, who "confessed" that they have found my Blog and read it. It was exciting to me because neither of us could quite figure out where or how they had found this, they aren't a person that I had notified, and probably followed a link somewhere...anyway it seemed exciting that this bulgy little monster is just out there wreaking havoc on its own, without my nurturing. I had a little image in my mind of a cluster of dots connected by lines super-imposed on the city, with more lines and dots popping up on the borders, forming a little web. I'm sure either some telephone company ad back from when I watched TV, or back from when I did tribe put that image in my head.

So we were talking about the blog, blah blah, and they mentioned that my quest seemed fairly unique in this particular ven diagram slice of subcultures, and I was bitching a bit about how uncool it seemed to actively be seeking out a committed partnership amongst my "demographic", and then they said

"Well, yeah, you know, everyone seems to be poly and so I imagine that's pretty hard."

Woah, woah, woah. Hold on, buckaroo. Who said I wasn't poly?

I was grateful for the feedback, because if on somewhat casual perusal it is not clear that I have a vested interest in polyamory, then my message is as good as lost. So to clear things up:


Now to convolute them again (and the reason I've been avoiding writing this post): what does that mean, exactly *to me*?

Well shit. Like most things I'm interested in, that's complicated.

I'll start with some stats:
I've been practicing polyamory for about 8 years now. That's been about 3.5 major primary partnerships, 4 major dates/almost partners, and a plethora of 'secondary' and 'tertiary' relationships (see aside). Plus the casual sex. Let's not forget the casual sex.

Aside: By the way, while my heart is organized in both expansive communist terms as well as a hierarchical caste (always *and* over *or*), I kind of hate the language of numbered relationship status. This organizational system is not of my choosing, its just how it seems to be, but I'm always working on opening and expanding all the rooms in my bloody mansion. ( Like the Winchester House, may it never be finished!) 'Primary' I can deal with, it's simple, and the point, if not the protocol, gets across. Beyond that it just sounds to me like deflating people's worth and value in your life, making them 'less than' which I don't dig, semantically.

I am designed in such a way that I seem to have the most and fulfillment with dating, casual sex, and play partners when I am in a solid, loving, strong partnership. It is the place from which my magic is strongest. I am very grateful to have gotten to the point where I feel that I can focus when appropriate and expand when able and generally act according to my integrity with a little wiggle room for learning and practice. I don't make the mistakes I made 6 years ago, and I hope you don't either. I manage to spit out what I need to even if its still a little scary. I enjoy doing things in the right order if given the option. I have been both overwhelmed with socio-sexual activity and very alone, so I have some perspective and a great reverence for the idea of things happening when the time is right.

I don't feel the pressure or the FOMO (fear of missing out) that I once did, at least, not often. I will not apologize for my emotional structure, just keep looking for someone(s) who fits it well. I am not perfect, but I try damn hard.

My new rule: No Shenanigans. If something feels, looks, smells even a little bit fishy, chances are these days I won't do it. It isn't appealing anymore, not even in that sexy-risky, well I'll take my chances sort of way. Negotiation is hot. Honesty is hot. Consent is hot. Clarity-hot. Knowing no one will freak out or cry or get pissed or feel full of regret later is hot. Talking to all involved to be sure, if possible, is hot. I can get plenty of risky/dangerous/scary hotness once all of those other things have been taken care of, there are endless places and things and ideas to play with to make things crazy enough to be sexy without breaking someones heart, getting someone sick or fucking someone over. These things will all still happen plenty without my help. Life isn't safe, and sex and love are most certainly not, but I'm not interested in these kinds of dangers, I'd rather balm this kind of pain. Lying, forgetting, omitting, not asking, doing it anyway, not being able to help oneself....not hot.

Except in roleplay.

Basically at this point I want a poly partner who can respect and follow thee spirit of the law, rather than the letter of the law. Someone who can vibe out the appropriateness of a situation *on top of* being a kick-ass communicator who is not afraid to ask or share or inquire about the possibly scary stuff, actually, who maybe very afraid but will fucking do it anyway. Someone who has had practice shaping their actions to their ideals and their promises. Someone who doesn't lie and doesn't omit, unless it has been negotiated that that is appropriate. Someone who will give me enough time, attention and space to fall in love, to feel that I am important, respected, a priority, and to get jealous if it happens and also to get over it.

Someone who understands that hard feelings are hard to have and that neither of us enjoys feeling crazy, and in fact we aren't. Someone who is committed enough to be willing to have periods of temporary monogamy if things are particularly rough. Someone who loves fun and play and is also fine refraining if appropriate. Someone to gang up on others with. Someone who can tell me how they really feel and work with me to help them get what they need. Someone who understands and works with the ideas of accountability and consequences- both fun and easy and harder and rougher.

Someone truly committed to respect, honesty, effort, pleasure and trust, and who knows and understands that mistakes happen but the real test is in doing the work to make up for the mistake or misunderstanding and re-establish intimacy and trust.

Someone who knows that there often isn't as much a single truth to these feelings and experiences as there is an individual truth, and that people all have different triggers and different things that don't bother them a whit. Someone who feels that that personal landscape of needs is more important than some super-imposed structure from the outside.

Someone who will encourage and nurture my sexual witch and adventurer, and who will bloom and expand and rejoice themselves in ways that fulfill them and help our relationship flourish. Someone who likes making crazy good sexy stories happen with me.

Someone who gets that being well informed with prompt timing is really important to me. They won't tell me that is doesn't make sense or isn't ideal, they'll just get that that's what matters to me.

Someone who looks forward to figuring out, together, what dreams and practices will work best for us.

Yes, I need a lot of attention. Yes I am passionate. No, I don't do well with indifference or apathy. Yes I sometimes get jealous and yes, if treated well, I can get over it. Yes, there are some lovers that I am never jealous of or have low emotional expectations of, but no, my wife is not likely amongst them. Yes, I am committed to addressing and working past and dealing with jealousy when it arises. Yes, I appreciate other's jealousy more than their denial of it, though very mellow people are awesome and inspiring. Yes I deal better with vulnerability than acting out in others. Yes, change can be difficult. Yes I give a lot. No, I am not willing to settle, be consistently treated unfairly, or stay somewhere if it's unclear I am important, desired and respected. Yes, I understand we are all humies, and how frail and ridiculous and sad and scary that can be sometimes. Yes, I also see the glory in it (but am always interested in being shown more!) Yes, this sounds like a lot of work, though for the might person it may be fairly organic, smooth, easy; hopefully we are at similar places of values, ability, understanding and needs.

And yes, yes yes! the point is fun and joy and pleasure and fulfillment!

P.S. Thanks 'V' for being my "beta tester"!

My First Missed Connection

This weekend at dinner with friends I was the big ol' 5th wheel. Two butches, two femmes, and well, me. Like many people, especially in this city, my gender is more complicated on the inside than it may seem on the outside, but as with most things I tend to qualify as kind of a: yes, please, some of each and all of those, and..and..., mixed up, not easily boxable weird amalgam of genders. Think of a mermaid-cat with a curly French villain mustache and a dapper hat and you're close. So. Anway.

One of the femmes was Irene, who was proclaimed to have "porn-star hair" that night. It's fun watching her dimple dance while she blushes.
At one point during the meal the other femme turns to me and tells me she was perusing Craig's List Missed Connections at work and found an ad for a Miss Sadie that mentioned a play party and a scene with a submissive and I should check it out. I love this weird little world, where an in-person dinner conversation can lead you to your online CL stalker. We go both forwards and backwards and in swirling loops these days.

So at home I looked up my name under Missed Connections for the first time in some months, and, sure enough, pop comes an ad that really must have been written for me. It references a BDSM party at which I had a fantastic time last fall as well as some hints that were obscure enough that it took me another full day to remember who this person was. The timing also added another layer to the host of strange and unexpected messages coming at me from the past this last great weird weekend. We have since corresponded and I am very flattered.

But that's not the point. The point is, that after oh, say thirteen years of scouring missed connections, from the small print in the back of the Baltimore City Paper to the occasional traipse through Craig's List, fantasizing that there is someone out there, someone whose sticky mind is stuck on me, someone intrigued and interested and compelled enough to toss that message in a bottle out in the hopes that by slim chance or fate it'll end up on my shore....that one of many simple adolescent fantasies has actually come true. Oh happy day.
I'm quite pleased.

Maybe that means this will also be the year I *finally* get fucked in a graveyard. How many fucking goth clubs does it take to make that happen? Apparently more than I've gone to and sadly I stopped going. Years ago. Except when I travel of course, for some reason gay bars and goth clubs are both still interesting and more fun when in a different town. I always feel a little bit like a colonialist, turn-of-the-century anthropologist when I'm traveling and venturing to these exotic venues; one of the kinds of anthropologists that believed in order to fully
understand and document foreign cultures it is necessary to lay them or be laid by them. Not that that necessarily works, but hey, can't blame a scientist for attempting thorough research.

But back to Missed Connections. While I am super excited that it *finally happened to me* ( I feel a little like a middle schooler with her first menses, thrilled and just slightly disappointed) let it be known to future wives and courtiers that this does not mean that appealing to me through MC is now irrelevant or no longer necessary. There are still many points to be gained there, and this is for sure a good birthday/special occasion aide. Frankly, with all the people I've dated in the past and told about my dream of having my connection missed, I'm pretty surprised none of them picked up on that hot tip and got themselves tons of free, easily attainable credit and appreciation. Though if you are thinking about acting on this, remember: I don't check super often these days, so be vigilant.

Of course, there's always W4W....

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Do you mind if I...?

Since I don't drink, I always think its really funny when people ask me if I mind if they have a drink whilst in my company... because what I really want is for people to ask if I mind if they fuck someone else.
I'm not sure in either case if I said if I minded that they'd refrain, but I'd definitely rather spend time with a tipsy person than someone who has a hard time respecting emotional and sexual boundaries.

While we all stumble sometimes, I like people who can mostly walk their talk. Ask me, don't tell me. Be willing to hear, respect, and even act on my answers. I like to talk, and I like people (including me!) to be happy; we can work it out.

I don't care if you have a drink. If you get wasted, I may leave. But I appreciate the conscientiousness expressed when you ask me. It's a good sign.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Something's Brewing...

That's what I generally say when a whole bunch of strange, surprising, intense and generally weird things happen in a short period of time. This was one of those weekends, I had a strong feeling about it from the get go, actually starting early in the week, and it did deliver, though as usual, not quite how I expected. I had another one of those "my worst fear" feelings about this weekend, which I have learned to really listen to, because in the last 5 months or so they have almost always been true. I did a lot to prepare myself, much of which worked wonders. Turns out my worst fear came true, or almost true, but I only had to deal with it remotely. Both damned and spared in the midst of a lot of unrelated astonishment and delight.

I was truly happy pretty much all Saturday, which was great and I had one of those days with which the summer was lousy, where multiple costume changes and destinations and purposes all kind of ran in a flurry together, always a little late, but with excellent results none the less. I don't really give a shit about Saturdays anymore, but this was a real, old-fashioned, early (for me) morning to late night party Saturday, full of fun, wherein I yelled at pro-Lifers while dressed in tampons, performed a stage-warming ritual in fancy lingerie and a transparent dress, celebrated Dolly Parton's birthday with a bunch of queers, and then went to a house party to give an ex a late solstice present. I had great, beautiful company all day, got exercise, looked consistently but variably weird and generally had a ball.

Today was a lovely affectionate late rise, long volunteer training, and the Sex Workers Art Show. Someone I once pegged as my possible wife was one of the performers.

Amongst all this a slew of unexpected communiques and correspondences from hazy distances, both physical and especially emotional, made their way to me. As well as a solid handful of strange coincidences. And more than one conversation initiated by another about this blog. I am left kind of reeling, over-stimulated and confused and feeling 50 flavors at once. I have an image of an off-kilter, beautiful but exaggerated carousel in my head. These times always feel significant but in a trapped-in-the-honeycomb sort of way, I can never really tell what shape the hive is or will be taking seen from the outside or from above.

Maybe my new theory about these things are that the compression points, those days that are so full of events and symbols and strangeness and joy and hurt and action that they leak into a brain flood and leave me scrambling for a dinghy of comprehension, and oar of direction, these times are the bits where the material bunches because the seam is about to change its course.
Like bones which have outgrown their muscles, maybe the life path pushes against its new growth, new turns, old territories sometimes, and the feeling of it is intense and confusing.
That was just so many very different metaphors right plop on top of each other. Obviously another sign. No, but seriously, this shit is BIZARRO all up over the place, every which way but loose, including loose, tasty, and gut-churning.

Maybe I just need to get out of the Mission.
Maybe things haven't been quite lively enough lately, so its all coming at once.
Maybe I just really need to go to sleep.