Normalizing Weird May 29, 2012Posted by Gina in Skepticism and atheism.
This past weekend, Wes, Shaun, Ginny and I attended a BBQ at the home of one of the lovely poly families we know. In fact, this particular family serves as inspiration and a model for Wes, Jessie and I because they were doing what we’re doing long before us.
Because I haven’t actually gotten permission to use their names on here, I’ll use initials instead. So, V and IR are married and V is in a serious relationship with S. S moved into V and IR’s home last year and things seem to be going great. We don’t get to hang out with them very often because everyone is busy and they live a bit far away, but it’s always a good time when we do.
It’s especially fun because they have put together quite a poly community on their own. With the exception of one guest’s young siblings and another person who was not explicitly so, everyone in attendance was living an actively polyamorous lifestyle.
So, when people hear about poly parties such as this, I think (and Shaun says he gets comments like this often) that they get an image in their head of what this looks like. Namely, they assume that a BBQ attended by a bunch of polyamorous people is automatically a big orgy or it’s all a big excuse for individuals to hook up on various couches and in various rooms of the house. Not to say this isn’t a possibility. I haven’t been to any parties like this personally, but I’m sure they happen. And I would suspect that a party made up of a bunch of people with lower boundaries and fewer rules about the way they carry on their relationships would have higher incidents of hook ups, at least down the road after the party’s end. But when we were invited to the BBQ, we were invited to a BBQ. This meant that there were hamburgers and grilled corn and copious amounts of potato salad, good beer, and delicious sangria (made by Ginny with leftover boxed wine from their wedding!).
Looking around the yard at the various groups intermingling what could be seen was quite typical for any BBQ: a bunch of people chatting about various subjects (mostly not about polyamory, though it came up here and there since we were amongst like-minded people), kids playing in the dirt and climbing trees (that’s right, those depraved poly people brought their KIDS to a party…and the kids had a great time both entertaining each other and playing with a bunch of the adults), good food being eaten and enjoyed, everyone helping with set up and serving…you know, nothing but a normal old Memorial Day party.
Shaun and I were looking around and he said, “Yeah, I don’t think anyone would be able to tell the difference between this and any other standard 30-somethings party” and he’s completely right. In fact, it wasn’t particularly clear at all who was dating who. People were affectionate, but in a very we’re all friends here kind of way. You would have had to have kept close tabs on each person and who they happened to share a kiss with at different points to get any ideas about pairings.
This was, of course, not surprising to me because, well, I don’t particularly view any of us as weird in a day-to-day sense. Wes, Jessie, and I have a pretty normal life in terms of things like having dinner together, sharing household chores, picking movies or television shows to watch, coming up with fun things to do on the weekend, whatever. Making plans with Shaun and Ginny is the same. It’s just that there’s sex involved and declarations of love involved too and that distinction makes everything else seem weird to outsiders looking in.
I hope that this blog continues to serve a purpose of showing the world how “normal” we ultimately are in many ways and that you can be weird in the ways that we are without being dangerous or morally abhorrent or whatever it is people assume about people living perfectly harmless lives outside of the mainstream.
A little while back there was a troll who attacked the blog on multiple entries who, amongst other things (like insisting on saying we are polygamists and that the women involved in our relationships are obviously victims of the wills of the sexist assholes we married) said that us talking about polyamory publicly was just a way for us to look cool since we’re all so obviously boring; that us having a alternate way of living and saying that we wish people were more accepting of it was just our way of standing out in a crowd (and being bored with our own privilege otherwise or something). I know, it was a troll and trolls can stay at the bridges under which they live, but I would like to point out that we aren’t living this way for attention. We are living this way because it is satisfying for us, because our relationships are healthier and improved because of our experience with this life, because how could we ever go back to denying ourselves the loves we have found. And we would enjoy the privilege of being able to live this way in peace, so we talk about it and be out about it so that people can see that it’s really OK (and that it’s OK not to live this way).
But now I’ve gone and talked about the burgers that were consumed at the BBQ and I really want another one. V made them and they had cheese and bacon INSIDE them and were cooked to perfection. Damn it. Have another BBQ, guys!