Hello! And Thanks for All the Odd Looks February 22, 2012Posted by Gina in Skepticism and atheism.
Hello, good readers of Atheist, polyamorous, skeptics! Gina here, of The Martinelli Variety Hour fame! In an exciting turn of events, Shaun has invited me to contribute on here, since I’m one of those atheist, polyamorous skeptics he’s always going on about. And since I am the author of a blog being officially followed by a whopping SIXTEEN people, you know that I’m going to really jazz up this place with the celebrity that I bring to the table. I also happen to be dating him and his fiancee. These things are unrelated…I think.
What’s that? You have not read my blog? You are not one of those sixteen people? Oh…well…fine. I know. I’m not particularly famous, but one time one of my posts got a lot of hits and I was on the news many, many years ago for walking around in an American flag unitard on Independence Day. It was back in the days before YouTube, so you probably missed it. But let me just tell you, as a five year old, I made this country look good with the power of patriotic spandex.
Mental note: Patriotic Spandex would be a fabulous name for a band…possibly for an ironic Tim McGraw tribute band. Or, like, a hair metal band that sings songs about missing the days of McCarthyism.
Second Mental Note: I will write a song called “You Have Been Blacklisted from My Love”
So…yes, Shaun wanted me to start contributing here because these types of brilliant observations are what I offer as a blogger. For the most part, I will be writing on my own blog and cross posting here when the subject is relevant. I write about polyamory, atheism, and feminism a lot over there. I also write a lot about toilets and other subjects not appropriate for this blog over there, so…take that for what it’s worth. But if you’d like to know about me, my family and my super sweet personal life, feel free to check it out.
Anyway, as an intro to my presence here, I wanted to talk about something relevant that happened to me recently. Warnings: I am kind of long winded, and I like to curse. The F-Bomb is one of my favorite words to use, especially when surrounded by really good vocabulary. Full disclosure: I also really like the word F-Bomb. Anyway, onto my story.
Generally in my life, the subjects of polyamory, atheism and feminism are sort of separate things. Sometimes, two of them intersect. It is a rare thing when all three intersect, but it has been known to happen. Take, for example, my recent experience at an atheist meetup in the area.
So, if you read this blog or generally any blog dealing with the skeptic community, you might have noticed that there is an ongoing debate about the low amount of women at skeptic events. Apparently, this is a subject of great controversy because women sometimes speak out about wanting to feel comfortable and accepted at events they attend and therefore they are cunts…or something. I don’t know. I think a bunch of other things were said, but that’s ultimately the conclusion a lot of people seem to come to. Other people like to be apologists about it and say that you should just be better at being comfortable in uncomfortable situations because dudes are dudes, yo, and you are totes hot. Don’t you like being told that you are hot? Other people still find it necessary to ask the question, “Why are women uncomfortable in the first place?”
So, I show up to the meetup. Days before I had expressed an interest to Shaun because I thought that starting to be a presence at the local meetup would move the whole “women feeling cool about being places with men” thing forward. His immediate response was, “You know you’re going to be hit on constantly, right?” Later, he invited me to the next one and I asked if it was going to be horrible and he assured me that most of the people were nice. So, I get there and find that the meetup consists of a long table with about 12 people sitting at it: one woman and a bunch of dudes.
What I experienced was not what I expected (me getting hit on relentlessly).
I sat down next to Shaun and was promptly not acknowledged by anyone there (except Shaun, of course). I had met a couple of the other people there before, so I took the initiative to say hello, shake hands, whatever and that’s fine because it’s not everyone else’s job, necessarily, to get me to be social. But, no one else, for several minutes looked at me, made eye contact with me or said a word to me. At some point, the other guy sitting next to me turned around and introduced himself. He happened to be in his 50’s and polyamorous and was clearly a hippie back in the days of hippies. He was pleasant and I enjoyed talking to him. The people sitting directly across from me refused to acknowledge my existence for most of the time I was there.
Then this other guy started talking about how when he goes to a bar, he likes to go up to women and treat them like crap so that he can figure out how much they can handle…because he’s an asshole apparently and wants women who put up with assholes. I guess there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with this strategy, but I found it strange that he chose to start talking about basically verbally abusing strange women in bars for the purposes of sex right around the time I got there. As in, he started this story a few minutes after I sat down as though on cue. I remember making a comment like “Cool idea, bro!” but I think I said it pretty quietly.
After a few minutes he began to tell us a tale of how he picked up this woman at a bar once who invited him back to her place. Shaun would tell me later that this guy identifies as polyamorous. This an important point to, um, point out. Anyway, the guy goes back to her apartment and upon entry into the bedroom, he sees a men’s suit hanging on the door.
“Yo, are you married?” he asked.
“Yeah, but he won’t be back for another hour,” she said.
“He doesn’t mind.”
The guy went on to say something like “Oh yeah, I’m sure, har har” and I piped in, “Well, you don’t know. You don’t know what their rules are or what the structure of their relationship is. She wasn’t necessarily lying.”
The guy sitting next to him, who had managed to not talk to me at all even though I said things directly to him says, “Yeah, he might be into cuckolding.” And they laughed because (A) how absurd and (B) there are no other possibilities.
I was sitting on a beer and almost spit it out everywhere while Shaun laughed and reminded me that this was an atheist meetup and not a polyamory meetup. But the one dude was poly, so…I don’t get the point of his story. All it really did was serve as a way to kind of mock nonmonogamy and objectify a woman and paint her as a probable liar.
Finally, as a few people started to leave the meetup, I was able to engage in conversation with some people, but only after really being outgoing and talkative myself. I made a lot of effort to get into the whole thing and was met with minimal results.
So, I’m telling this story because my experience was benign but typical. I am telling this story because I think it answers the question why a lot of women don’t feel like getting more involved. No one called me names or hit on me or anything like that, but my presence wasn’t valued. By some of the people’s reactions it is possible that my presence was intimidating either because of the simple fact that I was female and making eye contact or because I was confident and outgoing. Whatever the reason, I left feeling like the whole thing had been sort of a waste of time, except that I got to hang out with Shaun and a few of his close friends. That was, of course, enjoyable.
Will I go back? Yes, probably. I will go back, not because it was a particularly great way to spend an evening for me, but because by continuing to be a presence there it could turn into a great way to spend an evening and me being there could start to make it more comfortable for other women to be there too. It is a simple step towards something important and it’s something that I can be a part of.
So hello out there. I hope you enjoy whatever I might put on here. Let the games begin!