Monthly Archives: June 2014

Poly Dating & Band Camp

OkCupid.com_website_homepage_screenshot

A few weeks ago, after the friendzoned incident, Keith and I batted around the idea of joining OK Cupid. I finally got around to helping him set up his profile, and away he went, off into the land of non-monogamous dating in  serious and methodical way.

Not long after, I joined with my own profile. My intentions were FAR LESS pure than Keith’s, as he is really looking for an in-town girlfriend. I was…acting out because of hurt that Anne had to cancel one date (and then had to reschedule another). While we’ve patched it all up and are clearly moving in a beautiful direction, that hurt and insecurity over my lady love caused me to put my line in the water and see just who is out there in online dating land.

And honestly…

I’ve been sorta surprised. It feels a lot like band camp in this poly dating world.

Let me explain.

I come across a few different types of profiles. Gay or bi girls who are married/partnered and looking for another, or single gay/bi girls looking for casual/FWB/long term girlfriend (and they’re open to me being married or single).

And then…

Then there are these couples, with couple profiles, and it reminds me of all my years in marching band. While I was in band all through high school, I was also involved in sports (as a 6’1 girl, it was basically mandatory!! haha). As a part of the band I noticed this trend toward (what I deemed, then, to be) promiscuity. It was surprising to me, because band kids were NOT popular in school. And often I felt like I didn’t quite fit in. Yes I played sports, but I wasn’t popular. Yes I played an instrument, but I had a different set of social skills than most of my band peers. And thus I was sort of a floater. In my four years of high school band, it acted like one big poly community. Many of the people I knew were on the kinkier side of vanilla, and often they switched partners after a few months. While I wouldn’t say it was sophisticated poly (because often the girls felt heartbroken to be ‘traded in’ or ‘traded up’ by the guys in the band), there was definitely this openness to dating all within the community.

But in online dating, and now this might seem pretty judgey, I am coming across these very…band-camp couple profiles, where I am left scratching my head thinking ‘wow, they managed to find a partner, and now are wanting more?”

Oh God, I can’t believe I just admitted that online. But yes, I judge them. Not only based on their grainy or overly posed pictures, but also on how their profiles are written. And what they’re wanting from the theoretical ‘me’ that would be their third. I don’t feel super judgmental of people in person, so why am I reacting so viscerally to these online couple profiles? Maybe I should create a business helping people write their profiles so they don’t come across as so…creepy? Desperate? Borderline creepy?

But things like having Juggs&Gunns in your name, or ” hit me up right now if you are a liberal, non-religious crafty gal with a toddler or baby with a lot of free time on your hands and a reliable way to visit on a regular basis!” I I had heard the term unicorn hunter before, but..um…seriously? Isn’t that list a little bit specific?

I don’t really have a point to all of this, except that the whole thing fascinates me. There are quite a few really attractive and really interesting INDIVIDUALS on there, and some where they link their profiles to each other and seem super cool and down to earth, but the people who have couple profiles just come across as weird.

So far I haven’t actually done anything active, except upload pictures and fill out my profile/answer questions. I love that my situation with Anne has happened organically because Keith introduced us. I’m not quite ready to yet take the step and seek out/message people to try and get a relationship started. Plus, now that the hurt with Anne has smoothed over, and we’ve hung out again in person, and it was fabulous, I really want to focus on where she and I are going, rather than jump into the pool.

Anybody else have strange experiences with the couple profiles on OKC or another dating site? Am I the only one?

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How Cake Didn’t Help Me Feel Better

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I’d been waiting a week for a repeat of our Saturday night goodtimes (which I have yet to blog about. Sigh). At any rate, the day sorta came…and went…and despite having bought Anne flowers and a chocolate cake to celebrate the end of the year and her graduating top of her class with a diversity certificate, I ended up watching too many cartoons on TV with my child and husband. And then I fell asleep in my kid’s room while doing his bedtime routine.

All of this after eating half a Trader Joe’s flourless chocolate cake…by myself.

Because, see, I had let myself get my hopes up. It’s something my mom told me NOT to do as a kid, rather than just teaching me how to deal with crushing disappointment. I don’t like to show how sensitive I really am, so I build up a shit-ton of walls to put on this swag that gives an impression that I am cool and unflinching in the face of disappointment. But, I gotta be honest, when Anne texted that she had to cancel our date, I was pretty fucking bummed.

The rational part of my brain kicked into gear, though, of course. I mean, her little sister had driven up from Oregon to fucking surprise her on Friday for her graduation. Out of town family TOTALLY trumps finger-banging your not-yet-girlfriend in a Saturday night date. I would have done the same thing. Especially since her sister doesn’t know about me. And it was partially my fault. Because Friday night she had invited me to this awesome end-of-the-year party thrown by her “wild friends,” and I had said no, earlier in the week, because I’m not yet ready to go to a party where I’ll stumble home at 5am drunk or stoned off my ass. With a toddler, that sort of shenanigans doesn’t fly unless I’ve pre-pre-pre arranged it. And it’d be better if I was just gone for the weekend than coming home.

So I had the opportunity to see her, and had to say no. And she got blindsided by her sister surprising her and had to cancel our date. I’ll survive. We’ll survive. But in the meantime, with my period just starting and being ‘stood up’ (or…cancelled on? rescheduled on?) I ended up eating half a cake and drinking a beer. Which made me feel barfy and chubby and probably why I fell asleep relatively early.

I hate that newness in relationships, where a one time change in plans can cause the emotional upheavel. I feel like a junior higher again.

Shit, am I really a lesbian?

via tumblr Curves and Confidence
via tumblr Curves and Confidence

Have you ever dived into a lake, and then barrel rolled under the water a few times until you no longer know which way’s up? That feeling of floating, spinning, twirling…when under my own volition, it feels fun and exciting to lay motionless for a moment to realize which way is up, watching my bubbles rise to the surface, guiding me to my next breath of fresh air. This was a past-time of mine as a kid, and I did it in pools or lakes or any body water big enough for me to splash around in (note: I might have unsuccessfully tried it in the bathtub).

But contrast this with being thrown from an inner tube or being knocked over by a strong ocean wave, or being tossed into the deep end by a ruthless family member. That feeling of spinning under water, with panic outweighing the fun adrenaline sense of whoa dude! You know the difference.

I fee like I’m somewhere in-between those two feelings, like walking out into the waves and feeling the sand slip away from under my feet. I’m searching, searching, searching for a label to try and pin this sticky thing of sexual identity on. I came out as NotStraight (my very eloquent dip into the other sexuality pool), and then just defaulted to saying bisexual, because whoa people didn’t quite get the whole NotStraight thing. And bisexual neatly expresses why I am, in fact, married to a man. And why, in fact, I have had boyfriends in the past. And why, in fact, I have only just had my “first” sexual experience in the lady pool (with childish “experimentation” and drunken college makeouts with ladies. Bisexual explains it…right?

So I’ve spent my free time diving into the community. Reading AutoStraddle and watching Netflix documentaries like Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement, or Chely Wright’s coming out story, and in the latter I couldn’t help but feel really…convicted (to use a Christian term I grew up with) when Chely talked about having dated men, but knowing she was, in fact, a lesbian.

With Anne, we refer to each other as lesbians. And yet we’re married to men. We talk about being attracted to pretty lesbians, like Chely Wright, and yet how it’s an energy attraction that we feel. Anne has some butch lesbian friends who talk about seeing women on the street and thinking “whoa, I wanna bang that chick” (to use crass language), and she (and I) don’t resonate with that, because I see a pretty girl and think she’s beautiful and how nice it would be to brush her hair or sit and drink coffee in her presence. And yet, get me alone, with my thoughts, later, and all the fantasies come crawling out. I don’t see guys and drool over them, either, so it’s not just a lady thing.

I cannot deny that I have been incredibly attracted to a handful of men over the years. And yet, if I were to really be honest, I resonate with the word or concept of lesbian much more than I do with the concept of bisexual. I can’t quite explain it. It doesn’t make rational sense. Lesbians like ladies. Bisexuals like ladies and men. I like men and ladies. But don’t really feel like the bisexual pants fit quite right (I’m muffin topping all over the place here people!).

UGH.

Labels.

They’re so unnecessary, I know.

But I also know that sometimes before you can transcend and feel comfortable beyond and without a label, you first must embrace and living within its framework. And I feel like I’ve been thrown into that deep end and barrel rolling and trying to blow bubbles to find my way to the surface. Reframing my past in light of my present and thinking…was I just living a lie? Were those feelings for boys misplaced or influenced by a Disney fairytale culture? Am I really a lesbian?

And, if so, what does that mean?

 

Coming Out Among Strangers

 

My one piece...a bathing suit :)
My one piece…a bathing suit 🙂

My bestie, Ruth, lives a few hours away, and invited me down for the night while her husband was bachelor partyin’ it up in Vegas. It was SO NICE to get away, even just one night, and have some good girl talk. She and I met in college and have somehow managed to push through our phone-anxiety and talk weekly for something ridiculous like NINE YEARS. Whoa.

While visiting, we headed to one of her friend’s houses, for an awesome One Piece Party (where all you could wear was a one-piece outfit plus undergarments. SO FUN!) with a bunch of other lovely introverts. There was ping pong, and a backyard fire, and dancing to Soul Train in the living room. So lovely.

And while I was there, the talk about relationships came up. There was this lovely single girl there, also wearing a bathing suit + tights combo, and my bestie was trying to set her up with this single dude friend of hers. But all night I just got this vibe that she actually was interested in ladies. We were all sitting on the couch, talking to another single girl about the perils of being single vs having a relationships. My bestie said that it was really nice to have the house to herself for the weekend, even though she missed her man. I processed aloud that I was in a strange situation because I hate feeling caged in, and yet here I am getting into this situation where commitment is happening. The one girl asked what I meant, and I explained that I had a husband and a girlfriend, and that if  my husband were out of town I’d be wanting to see her. And her response was “wow, I don’t think I could do that.”

What I loved is that she was just so not judgey about saying that. Seemed interested in knowing it worked for me, but generally musing she didn’t think it’d work for her. Cool. My first stranger coming out.

Soon followed, in part by the copious amounts of yummy vodka spiked juice, the vibe girl sitting down on the couch entering the conversation about being single and not. And she casually asked me what my deal was, and I explained the situation. And she perked up, saying “I’m a unicorn! And I’m so into the whole poly thing, so cool. I’m trying to meet this lady right now, who seems really cool, but she has kids like your girlfriend, and is having all these hesitations.”

Wow.

I met a poly gal in person all for just being open and out. And I loved that my initial gut read was spot on when I had just felt that she might have been less into the dudes and more into the ladies at the party. Yay for gut instinct.

And yay for more positive coming out experiences. With the exception of the first online outing that was ‘negative at worst, neutral at best’ I am at so many positive ones. And feeling more confident and secure in myself and my ability to trust those around me.