Sunday, May 3, 2015

A reason for being

I get lots of emails from the local Toronto polyamorous Meetup group.  I have only ever attended one event over the two years I have been getting these emails and I wasn't particularly impressed.  I think the group suffers from not having a clear reason for existing.  They generally have two kinds of events that happen, one of which is useful and makes sense and the other which doesn't so much.

The useful kind of event is generally a Chat N Learn where people sit around and discuss topics of interest to poly people - dealing with coming out, jealousy, privacy, and other such concerns.  Honestly people in any sort of relationship could benefit from these discussion groups but because poly people have fewer models they get extra benefits from this sort of thing.  I am not particularly interested in these groups personally because I feel like the reading I have done and the discussions I have had with other poly people have taught me all the theory I want.  Practical experience has to come at its own rate.

Less useful though is the constant stream of meetups at bars.  I just don't see the appeal of showing up at a bar to meet people who happen to have one thing in common with me that doesn't lend itself to interesting conversation.

"I date more than one person."  "Me too."  /crickets

What that means is that you have a bunch of people sitting around drinking knowing that the thing that they all have in common is they can all ignore the wedding rings on any fingers.  So of course people treat it like a pick up event where all they are there to do is find somebody new to bang.  Nothing wrong with that if that is what you are into, but that sort of event usually ends up being pretty terrible for the women who show up as they get relentlessly hit on.  I don't like bars at the best of times because I don't particularly enjoy loud noises nor the taste of alcohol and an event where we can't figure out what we are supposed to be doing isn't making it any better.

If you want to organize a speed dating event or some other thing that is explicitly designed around people hitting on one another then that is great.  Unfortunately when that isn't what an event is about explicitly but some people treat it that way you have general unpleasantness for some and uselessness for others with not much actual success.  A much more successful strategy is the poly board game nights that some people have been arranging because you have a thing to do together that isn't size each other up for sex.  You can just play some games with people from whom you don't have to hide your lifestyle and if chemistry happens, cool, but it isn't expected or necessary for everyone to feel the event was a success.

It is a bit of a tricky thing.  I like the idea of people who struggle with mainstream acceptance of their lives having a place to meet like minded others.  Support for marginalized groups is a good thing.  I think that support works a lot better though when it is paired with other shared interests because those interests provide a great way to ease into other more difficult but also more important conversations.

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