Wednesday, February 18, 2009

S1m0n Brain Dump

Hmmm - I wonder what the maximum number of characters is in this editor?

Anyway. Tired of trying to play with the XML to upload these old posts right, I'm just gonna dump them in here for reference. Here we go - all of my old posts from 2008-2009!

So Why a Blog?

So when I was creating the blog's title I couldn't come up with a decent URL. Polytriad had already been taken; Tripod, already taken; Trip0d, taken; polypod was taken... and each of these blogs hadn't been posted to in years yet, alas, they were reserved. Therefore I went with what was available - polytripod. I hope the gang doesn't mind.Yeah, well, why a blog?We feel that polyamory is gaining traction in the public consciousness and figure writing about our experiences may be useful to ourselves and others. There are poly podcasts, books on poly, websites that talk exclusively on poly issues - we wanted to get in on the action - and we felt a blog is a good way to share them all with you. Also, since the blog is open, unedited, and unscripted, it's a great place to kick around suggestions about sharing lives together in committed, open relationships. It's the Real Life for Polypeople.And to add to the drama, it's the beginning of August 2008 and our walk-through date for our house has been scheduled for the 15th of the month. We pooled our resources and have had the house built from the ground up. We close around the last week and will be moved in by Labor Day. It's an exciting and stressful time, and all of us are looking forward to finally being in one space. Both households are busy off-loading repetitive items and preparing for garage sales, and gearing up for the eventual consolidation...s1m0n

Polyamory and Oprah

House news:Fence plan approved today. Landscaping goes in this week. The fireplace mantle installed. And the walk-in pantry is now truly walk-in. Polyfulcrum and Polygestalt cleared out a lot of excess furniture and materials in preparation of garage sale this weekend.Poly community stuff:Portland's own Darklady is hosting shows openly and honestly on matters sexual and political on Radio Dentata. Radio Dentata's founders believe that adults deserve to be talked to like adults. As the website reminds, “Just because it’s for adults, doesn’t mean it’s porn.” blurs the lines between the mainstream and the pornographic, broadcasting from an audio wonderland where creativity and passion meet reason and articulation; a world where “all things in life are erotic -- and the Erotic is Power.” www.RadioDentata.comHow topical:Today Oprah presented a re-aired show from Tues. Sept. 25, 2007 on polyamorous relationships and open marraiges. You know you've reached the mainstream of public consciousness when you're being discussed on Oprah. Although they never seemed to get around to actually saying "polyamory", there was a poly couple interviewed along with different segments in re-interpreting monogomy.Today:I met up at the gym with Polyfulcrum (PF) late today. Being the exceptionally generous person she is, she volunteered to run out and pick up the kids while I finished my work-out. This is one of the dynamics that I really appreciate about a poly-household - extended resources. If one of us finds a constraint, somebody else is able to pick up the slack. The kids get the extra attention and we're able to balance out personal needs. Being able to rely on my polyfidelous partners like that is one of the halmarks of how it works.Tomorrow:Hmmm I really have an itch to put together a dinner schedule and a shopping list. Scratch scratch... Next time, we'll learn why S1m0n is somehow compelled to organize dinner, and - oh - I want to kick community dinners back into the schedule.Meanwhile, that RedWolfDarkMoon chic is being rather flirty with me over SMS messages on my cell phone - she's taunting; I think I might be getting a wee bit distracted (grin). And I got my Captain Hammer t-shirt today! "The Hammer is my penis." The Hammer is my shirt. Yes!s1m0n

Glasses, Built-ins, T-shirts, and Giving Up Time and Space

Self:Glasses! New, for the first time in my life, and they work really well, too! Two hours at the PC so far and no burning eyes or headaches. Swell!House:Stairs in the garage and out the back to the porch. The posts are up for the fence. Comcast cutover scheduled for Aug 29 AM. Touch-ups to the drywall have been processed. Having difficulty to securing a quote for the built-ins (desk, bookshelf, and windowseats). Seeking competitive bids...Poly:Yesterday, the triad went to a 10 year old's birthday party. The ten year old is the child of another poly couple we know - there we go extending community again. I really appreciate being in touch with friends like this in a form of "extended family"; maybe I never had that when I was a kid and I'm making up for it now. Anyway, we got the respective kids together and met at the park later in the evening. There were minor festivities before PF and I had to head out for the evening; went to dinner - the waitstaff recognized my Captain Hammer shirt, there was much rejoycing - and a frisky night of frivolity with PF.Here's another reason why this works. PG and PF allow themselves alone time with their respective secondaries. I think this is good for the secondary relationship to have its own space and time, but it's also good for the primary relationship to remind each of them what they mean to each other. It's gained perspective for both of them.There's also a bit of cognitive awareness, I think, required of the secondary. When I realize that PF needs to spend time with PG, for example, I'll end up pulling back and encouraging them to spend time together. It's valuable for all partners to recognize when there's been a monopoly on time and to have a sense of self-regulation. Of course, that doesn't seem to prevent them from calling me over for a card game or something when they're bored of their alone time (grin)... I hope we can maintain that when we move in together and there's no more respective "houses".Recap:1. The extended community offered by poly is a big deal to me, and I like getting together with other poly peoples.2. Awareness of time and monopolized resources is importance for triad harmony. Stepping back as a shared partner is sometimes required.3. The next time you see me, you should comment positively on my awesome-cool Captain Hammer t-shirt. Oh yeah.s1m0n

Finding Your Zen

Hmm - Your troubles inspire haiku:The wind blows too hardTwo homes merge to become oneBravely fly and glideWhat you must do, PF, is find your Zen.I spent the day cleaning and throwing those things away that'd be redundant in our combined household. When I clean, I'm able to work out a lot of nervous energy and I'm able to find an order to things. I have rituals related to laying out and folding my clothes, ironing, hanging them neatly in my closet, making my bed. I take a very uncomfortable and chaotic landscape and make it my own, smoothed over and calm. They're odd things... routines that are somehow comfortable. I go from a deep sense of unsettled thought to a more organized and thoughtful state, as if I've been able to adjust a broken clock to tell the right time. Somewhere in your landscape you must find the comfortable routines and becalm your world. I've seen your place: everything you've known for at least ten years has now shifted, moved, been boxed, sold, removed from a wall, or otherwise displaced. You are between two ages in your life... and you must just "be". Right here, now, accepting it for what it is. You must find and accept your Zen.If you struggle too hard to fix the future, well, that is both unknowable and impossible. If you languish too long in the past and try to mentally recompute what's already been compiled, well, that's a waste of time. You are here, now, in this space. Breathe. It's neither an instant nor permanent, but it is very small in the scope of things. It's a brief moment of acceptance: powerless in the face of things you cannot control. Try to do those small things that remind you of who you are.You know, this space - it's not a bad place to be. It's somewhere between an action and a reaction; a risk and an outcome; a decision and a resolution. Now is a moment - a very brief, treasured moment - like, we're in the water for the first time learning to swim; we're flying in a plane for the first time; you're just about to give a big speech; as you put it, you're pregnant and waiting between conception and delivery. While you're here, think about what you're feeling. It's in times like these we figure out what's important and what we can't do with out; it's what we learn about ourselves in what we're desiring to control and what we're able to let go. Those thoughts will help shape the next age in which you find yourself. Will we fight or run away? Swim, or sink? Fly, or fall? Explore and discover, or, cower and reveal nothing? We are between.Myself, this shall be my third age, and as I listen to the wind, and hear my thoughts, right now, and breathe, I know it's exactly where I need to be. It's possibly faith; it's probably the rational recognition that time is a constant and I will soon be cheated of this wonderful experience. Before too long, the joyous anticipation and excitement of being, of "now", will be a pleasant memory, and one that will humor, entertain, and enlighten for years to come (wink).s1m0n

A Lunch Intruded Upon by the Panty Patrol

The front lawn and fence went in this week. Grass, trees, little shrubs; a wood barrier wrapped around the parameter of the house. It's less than ten days before we complete the move - really can't wait; anticipation is driving me nuts - and in the meantime, I must report my date last Friday was nabbed by the panty patrol. Let me explain.Friend of mine met me for lunch in a hot little black number with skulls for rivits and daggers for a zipper and, blessed Mary, it was so pleasantly short. (Have I mentioned how much that I love poly? I'm most certain that I have... Anyhow...) This is an Indian food restaurant with a standard lunch crowd, and she and I head up to the buffet bar to get some rice and curry. When we get back, we take a seat just as this rather uptight woman walks up and tosses a crumpled little paper onto our table and almost runs away, escaping out the front door.Curious - and who wouldn't be? - I opened the paper and read it aloud. It said something like, "When you bend over, you're showing your panties to the world." My date laughed and accepted the paper from me then placed it in her purse proclaiming she was going to put it on her fridge.A couple of things.One. You know you've "ascended" to a higher state of consciousness when your date is accosted by the panty patrol. That's awesome! Somebody up there loves me. Thank you, somebody up there.Second. I think it's a great measure of my date's personality to simply accept the criticism so constructively - I mean, she was going to post it on her fridge, like, a saying to remember each day or something. That moment only made me think higher of her.Third. I'm unfortunately made more aware on how intolerant the world is around me. My date came to the lunch happy, beautiful, proud of who she is, in an outfit that simply served to please me, and I was blissfully unaware of anything wrong, negative, or unacceptable about her or what she was wearing and then - BLAM! - our space is invaded by the moral majority with a gentle yet cowardly reminder to wear longer skirts. It's not enough that this person had to write a note and run away in fear of being engaged in dialog, but it was so important for this person to impose their views as to interrupt that moment... it was that important to push her opinion.I suppose I should get used to it. I'm poly and I live a multi-adult household. There are bound to be those who're incapable of handling it and feel it necessary to impose their views upon me right there, then, and now. There's going to be more of this crap. I think, next time, I'll press the panty patrol and moral majority for a talk than a drive-by note-tossing. Afterwards, maybe we could get to know and respect each other better.s1m0n


Waiting. The house is in its final stages and we're waiting to be presented with the closing documents. Once the docs are presented, there's some time allocated to funding and we'll finally get the keys. Utility cut dates have been set and move dates scheduled. Everything seems put on hold until we can finally move in next week.When you're waiting for something to happen, you begin cataloging all of your anxieties and - because they're inherently irrational and based on a lot of unknowns - you put them into several mental boxes. So, stacked away in your head are a bunch of boxes labeled with fear.All summer, I've been waiting for the school district to approve a boundary exception for my daughter. I'm supposed to hear about an approval a week ahead of the season. Useless. As a consequence of the upcoming move, many of my professional projects are on hold. Waiting. We've all agreed to hold off on any substantial relationship changes until after the move. Waiting there, too.I need bookshelves and quotes for backyard. Still waiting on those. Waiting. Wait wait wait.Getting tired of waiting. Need something to happen. Soon.s1m0n

Proof Poly

When PF and I started our relationship, we promised to give ourselves some time to create a stable foundation of friendship and love. We generally agreed not to seek out new partners for a while to intentionally give me time to adapt to a poly lifestyle and adjust my mono-perspectives on jealousy, possession, and propriety. Over the course of six to eight months, I was able to experience a consistency and trust in our relationship together. We mutually agreed to edge slowly into my own state of "being poly" so I could learn more about it. At first, I read four books on polyamory and asked questions of metamors and poly people. I joined an online site and oriented myself to a number of discussions and thoughts in the polyamorous community. I started listening to CunningMinx and the PolyWeekly podcast. Then, PF and I attended mild poly events that emphasized touch and snuggling which gradually allowed me to physically share light intimacy with others; later, PF and I would attend more sexual events like LoveTribe's Wet, DarkLady's Masturbateathon, and a number of house parties. Events like these allowed me to see, share, play, and connect with PF and others on casual-sexual level that I'd never experienced before. It was a gradual process and it was intentional. I had never experienced poly firsthand before and I wasn't exactly sure how I'd react. I didn't want to bolt or shy away - I wanted to understand, participate, and emerse myself. It was a process that allowed me to build perspective and confidence in our relationship as a stable, dependable touchstone. However, around spring of this year, I wondered about how well I'd do with a significant emotional and physical connection with another partner. I was concerned about being "paper-poly" - a term I'm adapting from the tech world, as in a "paper-MCSE", indicating that you've achieved certification but really have no practical experience in the technology you're certified in. Thus, I didn't want to say I was poly yet have no real experience in sharing an emotional connection with somebody else. So, I guess I started to leave the nest. I began dating and made some good friends, and this week - PF referred to her as "B" earlier so I'll stick with it - an intimate connection was made between all three of us. So, yeah, was a three-way exciting? Mind-blowing? Duh -absolutely - hell, I'm a guy, of course it was - but to paraphrase CunningMinx: it's not all about the sex. Polyamory circles has a name for a feeling you experience when you find your lover happy, at peace, and loving somebody else. It's called compersion. At the end of the night, both B and PF embraced and took a long moment in the darkness to say goodbye, both sharing expressions of satisfaction, relief, attraction, and comfort. It was a moment that just hung for me. Happy as I was to be intimate with B, more so, I witnessed two people that I care about find something warm and new and meaningful between them. That, for me, was the highlight of the evening: a long goodbye that promised even more for all of us. And at that moment, I think I proved myself poly. It wasn't the threesome. Proof, for me, was the feeling of compersion for both partners and an awareness of positive growth between PF and I. No longer a paper-poly, I close the chapter on my townhouse and begin a new chapter this week in our combined space. s1m0n

Playing it Cool

I have found - in my monogomous relationships - that arguments are kicked off by the manifestation of certain subtle queues. Everybody knows this - there are ruts of communication that we all fall in to: the slight inflection on a word; an over-used phrase; the cocked head; the eye rolling; the inevitable, heavy sigh at the end of a thought. They're triggers. They're the little things that my partner did and said that would set me off. And in my spare time - in my monogomous relationships - I would attempt to catalog and track these queues. When was I getting to a point of no return? What was she saying that would probably set me off? How do those queues translate into my emotional perspective or well-being? The idea here was obvious: if I could recognize the queues ahead of time then I'd be able to ward off disaster. I'd be able to control the conversation.This week has been a trying time. As I'm in a triad, I now find my subconscious working over-time to catalog everybody's queues. I can recognize an exasperated comment from PF and a slight "suggestion" from PG that will - inevitably - lead to an escalation. I find that I'm right about 90/95-percent of the time. However, such insight does me no good. I'm not in the conversation, I can't control it, I can't steer it away from its likely conclusion. I'm just along for the ride knowing full well that this bus we're all on is about run right off the cliff.So I've had to learn to play it cool. Think of it this way: if I tried to interject, I'd be taking somebody's side and creating precident that I'm always on "her" side or "his" side, and that would disrupt the trust that I'd have with either of my partners. Where my "Spidy Sense" kicks off to warn me of an impending problem, I've had to suspend my "flight/fight" response and just allow them to work it out between them. I feel I can't solve anybody's problem by taking a side. I have to be patient and have faith that they'll work it out between them.I haven't been to too many poly discussion groups yet but I'd be willing to bet this is one of the larger areas of contention for most. An argument between two people must be resolved by two it's between. Although it hurts to see others in my household "hurting" or in pain, I've learned that I need to just step back and allow it to happen, and have faith that they can resolve it between them.s1m0n

Owning Nothing but Having it All

Does a man "own" a woman?I think this is one of the principal concepts that a guy needs to reconcile when considering poly. There is a pretense of exclusivity in monogamous relationships; I say pretense sarcastically - perhaps illusion? Anyway, both partners find security in believing, at least, that each is sexually faithful to the other and this exclusivity over time, for a male, at least, translates into a sense of propriety. "These are my golf clubs. That is my car. This is my woman."And from this sequence of possessive thought comes some seriously outrageous forms of thinking probably left over from when the male mind was more or less "monkey". You can wear this, but you can't wear that.You can spend this, but not that.Touch this, not that.You can go to lunch with her, but not with him.You can have female friends, but not male friends.You can watch the kids while I hang out on the back 9 with a fewfriends.You can be who you are, sure, so long as it doesn't attract anybody.It's like a total challenge to his masculinity and sense of self. If he's not in control of his possession, he's somehow diminished as a human being. A free-thought from his gal and his manhood has been circumsized. After all, for this kind of guy, a woman is to him as a blanket is to Linus. If he didn't _own_ his security blanket, what kind of security would he have? Owning is comforting right?A healthy sense of security may be directly porportional to self-confidence. If you can learn to trust your partner, trust that her love offered is unconditional, and let go of the idea that possessing somebody brings you happiness, then - as a man - there's a world of new, deeper commitment waiting behind this darn veil of conventional thinking. And it's rooted in your own self-confidence.s1m0n

A Sybian Primer

Hey now - s1m0n here.Now, for all who may not be very familiar with the sybian, I thought I'd bring in a graphic illustration. A sybian is an autoerotic device. It's a bit like a saddle with attachments; a tiny electric bull for the bedroom except that it doesn't move around as much. It's flat, sits squarely on the floor, and can be straddled. It comes with numerous attachments. It has some electrical settings (rotation speed and vibration) which can be controlled by a set of dials placed on a remote control. The user can direct the intensity themselves or a caring, sensitive friend can step in; Polygestalt has a resume here - he was guiding the activities of several women on the thing. What's fun here, of course, is the novelty of a mounted, spinning, vibrating dildo under your sinister remote control. Hwmhmwhwahahaa. (You know, you really have to deliver the laugh, not enough people work on the laugh.) Anyway, I've found what a real kick is to get several women in the room waiting to be experimented upon, and a number of guys and gals willing to help out in any way they can. Memorable time from the evening: PF mounted on the sybian, PG on one nipple, G's partner on the other nipple, full settings set to max, and minute-by-minute climaxes. Now that's cooperation! Not to mention, PF was inspiring: as other women walked into the room to see what all the commotion was about, more wanted their turn on the saddle. It was like a Pied Piper effect. Instead of hunting for the evening, lay the trap and bring the prey to you! Choice. Oh, and by the way, it's not a simian - that's a monkey. Just say no to monkey. You'll want to be very careful with that consonant during your play parties or you may convey the wrong idea. s1m0n


Reposting this from another blog I was writing in last year.Okay, guys, listen up. We all know what poly is so I'm not going to bother defining it. Perplexia, on the other hand, is urban slang - a disorder where the individual suffers from prolonged bouts of confusion, indecision and randomness. Now, follow closely: Polyamorous Perplexia (PP) happens when a male - new to poly - is suddenly the object of attention of two or more females in a triad or quad. Yes. Men, we've all been here before. Ladies, you've seen this. The subject's face looks something like this guy; his words become gibberish; he looses all sense of reality and conversation is reduced to second grade grammar. In his mind, he may think he's being all cool and suave yet nothing could be further from the truth. Consciously, he realizes that he's hit some kind of divine jackpot; subconsciously, the male id can't cope. Guys, overcoming PP takes a lot of effort and practice. Five pointers to overcome PP: 1. Tuck in the tongue. The sooner you can master the deer-in-headlights response and tell-tale facial characteristics of PP, the better. I actually think women will respect you more. Eh, maybe that's just me. 2. Focus! You can't plow all the fields at once, farmer! Decisively choose one and go after her. Encourage the other to follow. Don't try to equally divide your time - this stuff isn't a democracy; listen: you know you can't frag a Brute in Halo 2 by spreading fire across multiple targets... 3. Be considerate. Before leaping to where you don't belong, ask before you can go there; everybody's got their own hang ups and you'll look like a team player if respect people's boundaries. This one is still a trick, getting all caught up in the moment with hotties and all... 4. It's not porn. No, it's not. No amount of planning or finesse will make the scene you're doing look like anything you've ever watched - ever - and, there's the sheer logistics: one condom can't be used in two places, fluid bonding... yeah, need I say more? 5. Respect. Always remember that you still want to talk to these people in the morning. It's not easy. Every guy, every now and again, will suffer the adverse effects of poly perplexia. Keeping these things in the back of your mind will help you overcome it and prepare you for a wiley threesome; foursome; fivesome; n-some. Whatever. And added bonus: these people may even want to do it with you _again_! Booyah! s1m0n

Who Am I?

I remember when I was about to get married. This was the first trip on the merry-go-round. I told my dad, "Dad-" (that's what I call him), "-I can't believe that [first wife's name] is the last woman I'll ever have sex with." His response was pretty standard. She'll grow on you, or something like that.Actually, now that I write about it, that response was a lot like the sex-talk he gave me as a teen. He had just watched me and a girl french kiss on her porch. I returned to the car. He and I had a heart-to-heart. Synopsis: "It gets old fast."In my second marriage, I was trying to attend counseling with the thing that was devouring my soul, and I was telling my dad, "Dad, I try to talk to this woman and tell her what I want. She doesn't listen. She thinks I'm a chucklehead." Then, another talk. He said, "Just hang in there. It'll get better." There was this great sucking sound and my soul was wrapped over my forehead.Who am I? I've figured it out, well, at least a piece of it, m-kay. One, I don't believe in settling. Two, I don't believe in dull meaningless intimacy. Three, I don't believe in life long commitments to the medicore. I want more. Four, I want something fun and meaningful and worthwhile - something that makes you want to wake up every day. Five, I want to change, always change, and evolve as a person. Today: poly enables.So, I should thank my dad. Thanks dad. Thanks to dad, I was able to figure what I didn't want.s1m0n

Being Accepted

Over the weekend, we had a vanilla housewarming party that brought together PG's family at our new place for the first time. As the new live-in single male, I'm the odd-duck out and had to be introduced to many who might have considered me an outsider. Naturally, I wasn't introduced as PF's boyfriend, but I was introduced as the guy that lives in the master suite's closet; before this brings up odd ideas, recall that we installed a doorway between the master suite and my own bedroom to connect my area to the master bath.It went very well. There was good discussion and lively debate on numerous topics and people seemed to like the general energy of the household. PG's mom even brought over a wonderful gift that included me and my daughter in the family and it was such wonderful sentiment. We all get along well together and there wasn't an obsticle to just being, and, being accepted.Being accepted is a powerful feeling of inclusion. Even if the family wasn't fully aware of my status, it was still important to me to be known, understood, and trusted by the extended family. It was a final touch on the move: not only do I feel at home and comfortable in the new surroundings, but I'm accepted by those important to my partners. These are good times. s1m0n

A Witness to Vulnerability

Don't look at me.Our nakedness is a vulnerability. We cannot hide from the casual or prying eye, and we give tacit permission to those around us - whether lovers or at adult parties - to inspect, to critique, to evaluate, and to compare. Exposed in a very primal way, we are watched while engaging in sex or in resting and in being; we're unable to shape opinion with our clothes, our posture, our social status, or our words. We are simply as we appear to be.At our party, I saw a huge tree-trunk of a man brought to his knees by delicate feminine attention to his ears. I saw a tiny woman, armed with floggers in each hand, slapping leather against flesh and taking a certain artful pride in every swing. I was introduced to a beautiful woman who purchased new lingerie for the party, and another young woman who didn't disrobe and play as not to offend her husband. At our party, others were able to watch the hot, melting, gooey adoration that PF and I share; at our party, that one woman (the one that gives me butterflies) grabbed my hair and looked at me in a way nobody else saw; at our party, I saw a girlfriend give playful attention to a young man strapped to a chair, cutting off his shorts with a knife, and her pleased glow of dominance in running an edge-play scene. And I saw the deep stare of affection, conviction, and admiration of a husband for his wife.At our party, vulnerability was found in the most simple of things the least of which required an absense of clothing. s1m0n

The New Gay

In her address to the Polyamory Pride Rally in Central Park on October 4, 2008, Anita Wagner proclaimed that we're seeing the "maintstreaming of polyamory". I think what she's trying to suggest is that the polyamorous lifestyle is the New Gay for the New Century. She asks us all to "facilitate" the mainstreaming of poly, almost sounding like we should go door to door with a little pamphlet in hand. "Have you considered letting polyamory into your life?"Yuk!Listen, no doubt that polyamory is gaining more media attention and that social awareness of non-monogomous lifestyles is a positive thing. I do believe, though, that polyamory is a bit like "advanced relationships" and that many people are more suited for the "basic edition" than they are the pro tour. Consciousness of polyamory vs. acceptance of polyamory are two different things, and I think that if you take the cause too far on the road you're likely to end up with people who resent you for challenging their moral compass. I can imagine a struggling couple who take the wrong message about polyamory. Instead of working out their own problems and concentrating on the foundation of their own primary relationship, they turn to secondaries for comfort only to have the primary relationship crumble. I can imagine such a couple then splitting up and blaming polyamory for all of their woes when, in fact, the real problem was found in the inattention to their principle relationship.I don't mean to sound elitist but I critically don't feel that polyamory is suited to everyone, and that polyamory would make more problems for more people unless it was critically examined, worked upon, and part of a mature dialog about relationships. Given that, can we honestly believe that most are cut out for it?And on a similar note: I don't know if I like that monkier - The New Gay. Does the rise of polyamory also mean we'll see a direct correllation in the rise of geeky, SCA, "Firefly" watching, role-playing, computer engineering, fire-dancing freakazoids? One can only hope!s1m0n

The Revolution Shouldn't Be Franchised

My apologies to PolyFulcrum for being the sole contributor to the blog these past four weeks; I've found myself headlong in a flood of work and unable to pay attention to things that matter - like my blogs. I just don't know where my priorities are.I've spent a part of the last four weeks mulling over the idea of polyamory as a "movement" instead of a "lifestyle" and I've found myself anxiously concerned. A couple of weeks ago, I was listening to Polyamory Weekly and Minx had interviewed a representative from Polyamorous-NYC. The interviewee introduced themselves with a corporate title and indicated that there were marketing directors and treasury vice-presidents and that they were issuing press releases as an authority on polyamory. The interviewee expressed a hope taking the organizational structure and implementation approaches to different marketplaces.In business, this is referred to as a franchise. You take a proven business model complete with standardized processes and procedures, and you install the business on a local street corner. Promoted by a national effort to build brand, the franhisees benefit from public awareness of their product on an advertising scale that they couldn't accomplish alone. It also offers a consistency in approach that makes consumers happy: they know what to expect from each experience when they walk into a franchise. A McDonalds, is a McDonalds, is a McDonalds.When I think about franchising polyamory into nice tight marketing packages and pamphlets, with organized structures and vice-presidents, and marketing directors, and press releases... I get sick. It's my personal belief that a lifestyle like polyamory shouldn't be packaged, marketted, or branded, and those who think they can profit from franchizing a lifestyle - let alone organize themselves like a company and assign themselves any "title" - should be ashamed; whether it's polamory, homosexuality, or poverty, exploitation is exploitation... disagree? Check out the Bureau of Labor Statistic's 2006 numbers on executive pay for advocacy groups. Too bad that kind of money couldn't go to the causes these executives champion.Yet, at the same time, in our Portland community this week, a heated email exchange took place over what kind of meetings to have, who should be invited, and how to run them; veterans wanted a separate time to talk about more complex issues than newbie questions. Our community could have benefitted from an approach/method to conducting meetings, munches, seminars, etc., which could have come from a pre-fab approach. Also, our earnstwhile contributor, Sushiaddict, who contributes his time to managing group organizations and compiling a website, may receive some benefit from an economy of scale offered by a centralized organization.In my discussion with PF, PG, and others, I suppose I've come to the conclusion that some organization to promote polyamory is positive and should be expected. There is a benefit in organizing, promoting growth, and helping outsiders be introduced to polyamory. However, I chaffe at the description of my lifestyle as a "movement" (see my earlier rants) let alone represented by some some corporate stooge with a business card wanting to brand my lifestyle and franchise an approach to organizing. For all of its contention, I'm still glad we're trying to develop local solutions with local ideas instead of adopting a cookie-cutter approach from New York city. It may be slow and tedious, dare I say "disorganized", but it's "ours" - at least I can order something else off the menu than a Big Mac.s1m0n

Uncontrolling the Message

I believe, as men, we all desparately desire our father's approval in everything we do, and for many years, I had lived to impress my father. In my relationships and in my marriages, to my business dealings and through the years of education, my sole customer was my father. More than his attention, I wanted to know that I earned his confidence and that I was worthwhile as a person. At no time did I want to be the "Biff Lowman" of his life. However, earlier this year I wrote my father and told him that I could no longer live in his shadow. I severed that long need to prove who I was in his eyes, and asked him to accept me for, well, me. I told him that I was ashamed that I couldn't make my first marriage work - even more concerning my second marriage - but I could no longer live for his blessing. I had to live my life for me. Coinicidently, it was in this same correspondence that I explained that I was self-identified as polyamorous and passed along some reading material. I'm not sure if he or my step-mother read it.Before the holidays, I thought it was imperative to reveal the triad for what it was and come out to my folks, and while we were driving along the Oregon coast I turned to my parents and told them that I had something to tell them, and I needed them to have an open mind. I explained that I was polyamorous and that I was dating several people but that my primary relationship was with PF. I explained how I felt about her and explained PG's secondary relationships. I explained how we live as a family, how we share child responsibilities, and how we've come to where we are now. And then, I stopped.I believe, as a man, I intensely want my father's approval in everything I do. In explaining my life - who I was, where I was heading, and what I was doing - I revealed myself, totally, and waited for his opinion. It was at that moment that I felt most imperfect, the most vulnerable, that I probably ever had with him. As men, we're afraid to disappoint our fathers, and we may embellish the truth, but this was unembellished, honest, and almost abbrasive: challenging every moral idea he ever taught me. At that moment, he was my father, my grandfather, and his father, and I prepared for judgement.I suppose I expected the worst.What I received was a surprising open reception. My father beamed and thanked me for having enough confidence to say what I said. My step-mother asked additional questions and reaffirmed that they both cared for me and wanted only what made me happy. Instead of a lecture, my father said - and I quote - "Wow, just a bigger family to love."Others who've come out to their folks haven't been as fortunate to be as accepted as I was; PF's own experiences with her family have been wrenching and, surely, disappointing for her. However, for me, I wanted to always impress my father and control the message, and I felt that if I exposed the truth about things, that I would be disrespected and disowned, and the reality was quite opposite: I apparently made it all up - the lecture, the opposition, the shame and disappointment, regret, and feelings of failure - and imposed it upon him. At the end, it was my own irrational fears that shaped my anxiety and controlled my response.Coming out to them was liberating. It was the first time in a while that I didn't try to control the message yet I was accepted regardless. I feel the new year really is, and there are new opportunities built out of the "truthiness" brought about over their visit. If there's a lesson here for other men who desire greatly to impress their fathers, I believe that our fathers are most impressed when we are honest to ourselves.s1m0n


Today I spent some time chatting with a poly friend who is lightly fearful of a date between her husband and a new, attractive, smart, athletic interest. Rationally, there was no indication that her husband was going ga-ga-NRE over the new partner, but she busily kept cleaning up her place to avoid her irrational sense of looming self-doubt.There are times where you can't say enough to yourself to keep those fears at bay; when it comes to belittling ourselves, we are all master critics. Energy consumed at playing tug of war between our confidence and our insecurity is draining - it's no wonder that pieces of us might give up and we become hopelessly arrogant or sad. Throw these ideas in with the problems of life - most notably the problems experienced over the last week with the kids at home - and you literally want to throw yourself at the bed in the evening. Eight-thirty. Kids are in bed. Lights out.We should take time to reinforce the good and positive in our lovers. What I cannot say enough is how amazingly patient my PolyFulcrum is in the line of fire with the kids, and how she devotes herself to handling them even though I'm tied up with work. She also is taking time to help PG's step-dad with physical therapy after a knee surgery. I can't say enough how appreciative I am that she steps up and does these things; I consider her the most selfless person that I know - willing to give her time and energy to anybody and anyone who needs her. She is an incredible person and more of a saint than I'll ever come close to being.Reinforcing is important. It's needed in the best of times and totally required in the worst of times. It's a simple gesture that lends a calming hand to the better side of our private tug-of-war, eases the pain of fear and regret, and reminds them of their constant beauty in our eyes. If these might be troubling and confusing times to you, think about how can you reinforce your connections today. Help tug the rope.s1m0nhttp://polytripod.blogspot.comPS: PolyFulcrum, you are infinitely valued, loved, and appreciated... thank you.

Poly: A Competitive Differentiator

2009 is coming and I'm willing to make a prediction.Here's what I believe.I believe that the economic crisis that we're in will only deepen as domestic US spending - unaided by the availability of credit - drops to early 1990 levels. Housing values will also re-adjust to early 1990 levels, deflating the value of a typical 3-bedroom home from $285k to $95k. This will remove the only source of collateral owned by the American consumer who doesn't save much, and there will be rolling bankruptcies and further tightening of credit - not because they can't afford their mortgage, but because they can't pay their revolving and consumer credit. I believe the financial system is still in the early stages of adjustment and it will take three to five years to sell off excess inventories of homes and thus re-inflate equity, but even still, lenders are going to be less likely to accept a trade of equity in return for loose credit.Inasmuch, an unprecidented liquidation of assets will last through 2009-2010 as people scale back to live within their means. Thousands upon thousands of small businesses will close because the American consumer no longer has excess disposible income to afford latte's or dog washing, so the extravagant and the inefficient will be purged from the economy. Huge companies like GM will fail because there's not enough credit to afford large purchases and consumers don't have the savings or the wages to afford their products. This will have further reprocussions increasing job scarcity and insecurity. The effect of lost jobs, real wages, the scarcity of credit, and the diminishing opportunity of livable-wage positions in the economy will force knowledge workers into the service sector, working many positions for less income and less security, destablizing their household's earning potential. With incomes down, tax revenues diminish even though transfer payments will increase. That will put interest rate pressure on the mounting fiscal debt of the United States and excelerate inflation. Cost of living rises where real wages continue to diminish. Diminished tax revenues mean scarcity in services: California will be bankrupt by March 2009; valuable state services affecting the most needy of our population will be directly affected (Washington State just cut healthcare for children in 2009's budget and still has a $5 billion deficit); food insecurity will become a huge problem - we're already seeing rates recorded in 2007 rising to unprecidented levels with more homeless, more recipients... large chunks of the social welfare net will collapse.I do not believe we're heading for a 26-percent unemployment rate and another Great Depression. However, I do believe we're heading into the greatest economic collapse we have seen in modern times. I believe nobody wants to tell us this as to avoid a panic. Maybe they're right...In 2009, I believe Polyamory a competitive differentiator. My partners and I - through earning more than two incomes and having more resources available to us than a monogomous relationship - have a better chance of weathering the upcoming economic storm by collaborating, cooperating, and pooling our resources together. I believe there'll be a resurgence in the ideas of communal living - perhaps not entirely driven by poly but polyamory already has a relationship connection built in to the living arrangement.I believe 2009 will be one of the most traumatic, unforgiving periods in the memories of our grandparents - it will be horribly traumatizing as the economy "rights" itself from the orgy of credit; I believe that concerned poly people should be discussing - right now - how to combine resources, reduce expenses, and collaborate on mutual economic survival, and to take steps to minimize their expenses. Leverage your advantage to weather the upcoming economic storm. s1m0n

It Got Weird, Baby

There were two poly incidents this week that had an unnerving effect. In this post, I think I'll talk about the first one at our new year's party.Intentionally, PG created the new years' party as a mixed social, inviting both our polyamorous friends as well as our long-time gaming buddies who'd best be identified as "celebate geeks". These are great guys and I love spending time with them but the experiment created a tremendous social disconnect for me. My gamer pals ended up seperating themselves from the main room and hanging out in my office, where the rest of the party were getting frisky elsewhere in the house. I was bouncing between conversations like the doom of western civilization due to economic ruin and the issues felt by one of my poly friends towards her husband's new partner. I would literally have to move between both spaces to engage my pals... Meanwhile, the evening was turning more towards the sensual, PG was already getting busy with his girlfriend, and it was really tough to ignore the nakedness happening elsewhere. Luckily, PG arrived just in time to take over my stead so I could go sit myself between five or six barely dressed women. Whew, that was tough. In short, I found it real difficult to balance my attention between the "poly" me and the "intellectual" or "geeky" me because, honestly, the end of civilization is really fascinating to me right now but, right then, I really wanted to snuggle with SushiWife and PF. That was a difficult space to be in - it was contentious: I want to hang with my friends but there was unabashed poly-ness happening that I felt I was disconnected from, and it really created this sense of social anxiety, almost quite intolerable ("Somebody is getting something that I'm not getting!").So, anyway, mixing and matching the social dynamic didn't work out for me too well. I think I'll make a mental note of it. Mental note: mixing got weird, baby. It got weird.s1m0n
Dating by ProxyPG casually dates a lot more than either PF or I do; how he manages to find the time and personal organization puzzles me. Regardless, he always has a good story or two about lives outside of our little pod, and recently, one story in particular has my ear glued to the wall. Her name is C and I was first introduced to her at our house party back in October. At the time she was new to poly and had that fresh naivity about poly that I remember when I was first introduced to it. It was cool to see that and be on the other side this time. She was curious, talkative, bright; young, beautiful... dressed in a lacy lingerie she purchased specifically for the party. In talking, I learned her and her husband had been exploring poly for six months. Throughout the night, I didn't see her play, and I didn't see her leave; I wouldn't see her again for another two months. She was charming.During this time, she's been successful at poly - I understand there's a line to date this girl so I don't even try. So when PG gets an opportunity to see her, I'm intensely curious (the ears perk up) and I try to ask more, dig deeper, and figure out what's going on in her life... I always want to know more, maybe things he didn't even ask. I guess this is dating by proxy (or, at worse, stalking by proxy) because PG's doing all of the legwork and I'm just vamping off the experience. It's part curiousity, part attraction, part tactics (subconsciously I think I'm waiting for the "right" moment to ask her out), and part cowardace, even something that could probably be felt if PG was dating C in a mono relationship but that kind of curiosity carries a whole different perspective when you're poly.


1 comment:

Anita Wagner Illig said...

Hi Simon -

Let me clarify what I meant when I spoke at the Poly Pride Celebration in October 2008 about facilitating the mainstreaming of polyamory.

In no way do I recommend prosthelytizing. I completely agree that polyamory isn't for everyone, especially not for troubled monogamous relationships, though for years we have seen such couples try polyamory and blame it when their relationship crumbles, just as you suggest. Nothing new there, but no reason to encourage it more than it's already happening.

Instead I meant to suggest that we all set a good example, be out if possible so as to demonstrate that polyamory is a legitimate relationship option for those who choose it. It's an awareness thing, not an attempt to recruit. By raising awareness we are hopefully able to destigmatize polyamory's image in the mainstream and to let others know that they do have another option besides monogamy.