alt.polycon: Saturday Morning and Early Afternoon
(October 13, 1996)
I woke up on Saturday in a queen-sized futon in Lynn and Victor's front room to the sounds and smells of Lynn making breakfast for us – which also included Debbie and Alan (who had taken the guest room) and Jim Hudson (who stayed at Elise's house next door). It was strange to sleep in a bed that size: I've coupled in a single and my own bed is a double which has slept three. It was nice, though – if reminiscent of sleeping with another in a king-size, which was almost like sleeping alone.
After breakfast, Debbie and I were zipped back to the convention for the "Coming Out and Being Out" panel that we were on with Samantha Star Straf. We'd been thinking about introducing each other (she was going to say that she wanted me on the panel because I "never get to be in" and I'd threatened to say that she'd "been living a poly lifestyle for as long as I'd been playing Doctor,") but we agreed that this would be unfair to Star so we didn't. One of the interesting questions raised at the panel is whether polyamory is one of the first things people learn about you, or whether they get to know you a little (or a lot) before they find out. I come down firmly in the first camp, because I don't want to be afraid of losing friendships if I ever disclose – and I want the ability to talk about anything with my friends. I also try to avoid situations where you feel like "Defending Your Life" (even though I liked the movie by that name). However, I'd never really thought about what I miss out on by never talking with those folks who might become open-minded if they got to know me first – specifically, that they ask interesting and thought-provoking questions once they find (or figure) it out. I also particularly enjoyed the realization that being honest about one's life and being expressive about it have become conflated into being "out." For example, Jennie shares last names with her husbands and introduces them by their full name at social events – which is equally honest as my standing up in a roomful of strangers to talk about going to alt.polycon the weekend before the convention. It just isn't as confrontational – which probably makes her a better ambassador to most of the folks who've never thought about polyamory. Of course, I'll probably go on doing such things: I think it's important that folks know of the other options, and (perhaps more importantly) I like jerking peoples' chains. But it was very interesting to see the other side of that issue for the first time, and to think about the consequences.
The "Poly and Kids" discussion was next, but I skipped out on it because I don't have any kids (although I used to co-parent Chy's first-born with her). Instead, I hung out in the con suite awhile.
The next panel was "Jealousy: The Invisible Monster Under The Bed," with Stef, Jennie, and Darren Toop – and I had to go because I've never understood jealousy. I still don't really get it, but I suspect that jealousy (like monogamy, perhaps) only makes sense if one's afflicted with it. However, a lot of good advice was given out: jealous folks can talk about it and be specific about what triggers it, and the rest of us can listen, pay attention, and remember Aahz's observation that "if you have a problem and I don't think it's a problem than WE have a problem."
I also skipped out on the "Poly in the Real World" panel (which was going to have a doctor, a lawyer, and a real estate agent answering questions about making poly relationships work in a coupled world). It sounded interesting, even though one person couldn't make it, but I was getting a bit intellectually overstimulated from the panels. This isn't a bad thing; I just wanted to talk to some folks in smaller groups and move around to keep the blood flowing. Which is why I've always pushed for dances at Potlatch: I wanna work my body at night if I've been working my mind all day!
Go to Part 8: alt.polycon Saturday Late Afternoon and Early Evening
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