Last weekend was the 39th annual celebration and parade for San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride. The celebration is enormous and overwhelming; despite my best efforts I only managed to participate in a small fraction of activities. My week started out with a night out for drinks with several other queer grrls, followed a couple of days later by watching Bi Request at the Frameline Film Festival with a lover. This year’s Bi Request, a collection of shorts either by or about bisexuals, was especially good. Friday night I spent at the Queer Playground play party at the Citadel, where Grin sutured a lovely decoration on to me that he had created himself, shown in the picture above.
Saturday I spent picnicing and marching with friends and lovers at the annual Dyke March, went to dinner, and then made it to another play party.
Sunday I somehow managed to get up and march in the Pride parade as a Contingent Monitor with both the Bay Area Bisexual Network and the Polyamory contingents; again, I was with friends, lovers, and community. Although I did not march with the leather contingent, I supported them in spirit, by wearing Grin’s decoration from Friday night to Sunday night. Afterwards, I wandered around around the Pride celebrations with a friend visiting from out of town, met up with more of my community at the Faerie Village, dropped by the Citadel for their post-pride social party and then made it to one more wind down party where a lover of mine and I pretty much collapsed in exhaustion.
In what city other than San Francisco is all this possible? I count my blessings daily.
I recently attended a workshop entitled “Making Friends with Jealousy” being taught by Dossie Easton at Poly Living West. As usual, Dossie led an excellent workshop; even though a lot of the ground she was covering was material I already knew, it’s always good to get a new perspective on it, and to reexamine it in light of one’s current life situation.
One of the really cool things she mentioned, however, was related to the technique of taking a “timeout” before jumping into a confrontation with a partner. Let’s say you hit a sudden landmine in your relationship (either due to jealousy or some other triggering event), and at least one of you is ready to explode with grief, anger, panic, or another strong emotion. Instead of attacking, you each go and spend at least fifteen minutes on your own, doing whatever works to calm you down. Exactly what is best differs from person to person; she mentioned activities varying from dancing out the feeling to sitting calmly working on a crossword puzzle.
This summer, I had to break a date with one person I’m seeing in order to accommodate another. Here’s the email I sent her:
So, now that we’ve figured out a July date and everything … it would be cool if we could reschedule. Sorry. Renee’s gone for a month, in town for only a couple days in the middle there. Would you be up for the evening of July 11th, either at the Citadel or Edges? Or we could figure out my place if neither of those work out. That’s the best, but alternatives are the 12th, the 19th, or a weeknight around then. Any of that sound doable?
She responded, and used my email as an example of all the proper things to say when breaking a poly date.
A few nights ago, I attended Poly Speed Dating, an event put on by a few hot local organizing types, some of whom also post on this blog.
The event format was, I expect, typical for speed dating events. After registration, and a discussion of how the process was going to work, schedules were distributed to everyone. Tables were numbered; for each date, you would run over to the assigned table, sit down, and start going. At approximately four minutes, a warning was shouted; at five minutes, the date was over, and it was time to sprint over to the next table. At the end of the night you turned in a sheet indicating which people you would be willing to exchange contact info with; if they also indicated you positively, you were matched up and email was sent to both parties.
CBS has a new television series out, Swingtown. It is billed as a show about swingers set in 1976, but it is really more about relationships and marriage in the 70’s, with a strong emphasis on open relationships. It started in June, and is running the first thirteen episodes this summer, ten so far. In a very cool move, CBS has been posting the full episodes online (here), which is probably the only reason I am seeing them, since I don’t watch TV. They insert commercials into the online versions to recoup their cost, and unfortunately they are only posting the most recent three or four episodes, so you’ll have to go elsewhere (reruns? torrent?) if you want to find episodes one through six.
In May, a polyamorous woman named Jenny Block released a new hardcover book, Open: Love, Sex, and Life in an Open Marriage. I bought it and gave it a read in June, and this is my take on it.
Jenny has done something new and interesting with this book: instead of being the usual how-to guide to nonmonogamy, it is primarily a memoir of her personal journey to polyamory. And, it is an incredibly frank and revealing take on her life, starting in childhood, detailing how she was cheated on and then how she cheated on her husband, and her subsequent journeys through various types of open relationship styles to her current husband-and-girlfriend V relationship. She lays out all her feelings and motivations, and puts the bad on the table with the good, which makes the book that much more real and powerful. It was an incredible act of bravery to publish this book – even as open as I am about my life, I don’t think I could pen something that bares my inner self to this extent.
“The doctor said it was hemorrhoids, and to get some Preparation H to put on it” I said when I got home from the doctor’s office.
“It’s because you’ve been having anal sex!” my fiancé accused.
The truth is up to that point I had never had anal sex, I had no interest in anal sex, I wasn’t even sure how you had anal sex. I couldn’t figure out why he would be so upset about that. I mean, did he want to do it and was thinking that I was doing it with someone else? Rob had never said anything about it; I couldn’t imagine him even being interested.
I never thought I would have anal sex. Sure, my boyfriend Steve was bugging me to do it constantly but my fiancé Rob had never even mentioned it. The thought of having something up my ass was so disturbing that I wouldn’t even consider doing it.