Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hard Times at the War Room

Yay for new poly events in Seattle! It looks like the War Room is trying out something new, "a poly omni art experiment." They're keeping it cheap; $5, and it sounds like an exciting experiment in art and culture and community. The Stranger calls it "new weekly Weimar era–style night of polyamorous mindfuckery."

I haven't been yet, the first night is tomorrow, but expect a full report once I go. Any event that is going to include "poly" and "art" in the title is worth a peek.

To my anonymous commenter

For technical reasons, I had to move the blog to this new site. I'm sorry I lost your comment though, it was concise and well articulated. If you want to repost the comment, I'll be happy to respond. Thanks!

ABC News and Polyamory

Here's an interesting article on the ABC News website that was posted on the 18th of June. It's a mainstream introduction to the idea of polyamory as a social issue via an interview with one of the members of Loving More, as well as psychologists and an author.

For mainstream media coverage, I'd have to say that I'm impressed. There's kind of a focus on the idea that polyamorous marriage might be the next civil rights movement, which I very much support. The concept of polyamory as a mainstream social issue is something that I hope to see media coverage on more and more. Though unfortunately Deborah Anapol, a poly proponent author, tells ABC that the majority of todays poly people don't want to be in a social spotlight, they just want to be left alone. Of course, in this short article there is no indication where Anapol gets that data, so I'm left to wonder.

And of course, there are a few look-how-poly-doesn't-work stories, which I find completely ridiculous. It's just another case of how easy it is to find supporting anecdotal evidence to support any point. The title of the article definitely has a negative slant, "Polyamory; When One Spouse Isn't Enough," and it ends with the quote "It's hard enough to find a monogamous partner. It's exponentially harder to fit the quirks of two people, plus a third person." That, in my humble opinion isn't the most unbiased way to end an article, but hey, at least the three page article is published.

It isn't quite objective, but it's a step in the right direction

Shy and Confused in Washington

Dear PolyAnna,

I just heard about the idea of polyamory from a friend at work. What does polyamory mean? I like my coworker, but does this mean that she sleeps with people without any kind of moral system? Should I be nervous about her being around my husband and my friends? I'd like to ask my coworker about this, but I wouldn't really know where to start. Please help me out.

Shy and Confused
in Washington

Dear SC -

This is a position that people are finding themselves in more and more these days. We've all heard of polyamory, but what does that mean exactly? I'd like to tell you there's a clear and concise answer to that question, but unfortunately, there's not. Poly can mean a lot of things to different people. The best thing to do in your situation is to ask your coworker out to a cup of coffee and casually ask her about it. Chances are she'll be happy to share her particular philosophy with you. And once you get past that initial shyness, you'll probably really enjoy the conversation.

It seems unlikely that you need to be worried about her interactions with your husband and friends, because two base tenants of poly are honest communication and consent. So unless this coworker of yours is one of those assholes who says they're poly but doesn't have any respect for the boundaries of others, you're probably safe. So if she is actually poly and not misusing the word, she would never do anything without the consent of everyone involved.

Poly is a highly misused word these days, but here are some basics; polyamory generally refers to the concept of being able to have romantic feelings and/or physical relationships with more than one person. It doesn't mean being indescrimiate about the lovers one chooses. On top of that, truly poly people are honest with themselves and everyone involved about thier relationships. Open communication is a big deal. And consideration of everyone's opinions and feelings is integral too.

There are a lot of jerks out there stomping around and using people and cheating and calling it poly. Please don't let these people trick you. Those people aren't poly, they're just assholes.


In the beginning there was light. Er, character limits.

I just spent half an hour trying to fit the mission statement of this blog into 500 characters or less. I wrote, and edited, and edited again. And I realized that I want this blog to do a lot of things. And a lot of things don't fit into a 500 character limit.

First and foremost, I want this to be a discussion. In subcultures people spend a lot of time talking about how culture affects us as people. And that's true, it does. But what often gets overlooked is that we as people are creating culture at the same time. And that's something I want to do here; create culture.

Also, I want to discuss relationships from a DIY perspective. Personally, I think that polyamory is a wonderful thing, but at the same time I realize that the word polyamory itself has all kinds of disjointed and unclear meanings that vary greatly. I choose to use the word polyamory because I like my definition of it. But really what we're talking about here is anything outside of the conventional definition of monogamy. And that's what is important; the idea that we are the makers of our own lives. That we're not following a dogma that has been prescribed to us by decades of social and religious concepts.

Finally, I want to help dispel the misconceptions about poly relationships. There are so many, and I'm sure as this discussion on alternative relationships progresses, we'll find more and more. And I want us, as a community, to help explain poly to a world that doesn't know much about it besides the awful examples that pop culture has handed us.