Early Experiences in Nonmonogamy
and Science Fiction
(January 1985 through late 1992)
ABOUT 12 YEARS AGO, I started going out with Mary, who I met at The Rocky Horror Picture Show and who was my first heterosexual lover as a young adult. We broke up a few months later, but we remained friends and she eventually told me that she'd had sex with another guy from the Rocky Horror crowd when we were officially going out. I was a bit put out by this, because I'd thought that we were supposed to have been monogamous with each other - after all, it went without saying, right? But she rightly pointed out that we hadn't ever talked about it, and her comment that I didn't own her made a certain amount of sense. So I changed the subject and filed it away for further thought. On reflection, I decided that I didn't like this other guy very much (even though I didn't know him well) and I "naturally" found myself getting a little upset about all this. But I wasn't very upset. Which was a bit puzzling, as I'd expect myself to be much more offended. And this was worth getting upset about! Because everybody said so! Right? But I could tell that I was being dishonest with myself: I had quit trying to fit in with my so-called "peers" several years earlier, and discovered that I was much happier doing my own thing. So I started asking myself why I was upset û and ultimately discovered that I wasn't. I just thought I ought to be. With that out of the way, I began examining my other ideas on how to run a relationship, and thinking about how to do so non-possessively. And I was well on my way to developing an empowering model of nonmonogamy.
TWO YEARS LATER, I took the advice of several other Rocky Horror fans and bought an advance membership to a local science fiction (SF) convention called Norwescon. Unfortunately, I couldn't attend because I caught mononucleosis: "the kissing disease." However, I got to attend Alternacon the next year as the guest of Terry Tafoya (my college epistemology, anthropology, and counseling professor) in exchange for helping him put on a cultural educational game called BaFá BaFá I had helped start up a high-school SF club and played enough Advanced Dungeons and Dragons to have a 43rd-level magic-user/fighter/thief, but I was still pretty new to the other fandoms so I bought the sixth edition of The Neo-Fan's Guide to Science-Fiction Fandom in the fanzine lounge. And was intrigued enough to come back the next year, where I volunteered in the security department. Over the next several years, I moved my way up Norwescon's security hierarchy until I had about as much authority as possible without being on the convention committee, and I started attending other SF conventions in the Seattle area, as well as a few in Oregon and one in B.C. I also started working on a hoped-for anthology of original SF by and about people of color called Future Diversity. I shelved this project in 1992, for several different reasons, but it helped establish me as a person with intelligent things to contribute, and I started getting invited to be on convention panels.
I also had a few get-back-togethers and subsequent breakups with Mary during college, along with other opportunities to develop my ideas about relationships. Most notable were my doomed attempt at monogamy (which taught me that I'm not jealous) and my one-night stand with Chy (who aborted the resulting pregnancy with my support but eventually become my best friend). I was very unhappy during this last drama, but it got me thinking about practical genetics û which led me to search for my birth parents.
Go to Part 2: Adoption Searches, Fannishness, Potlatch, and Politics
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