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Andrei in the office

lordandrei

Andrei's Universe

One man's journey from infinity to nothingness


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Andrei in the office
lordandrei

Where I rant a bit about discrimination

Today I want to rant about the following:
"If you don't think you can help the situation, don't try to render help."


Just in case it has been a topic people hadn't figured out by this point. I am polyamourous. I am. I have come to terms with it. I am okay with it. I think it is the correct lifestyle, for me. I don't think it's the right lifestyle for everyone. I don't think it makes me a better individual than people who aren't poly. And all those beliefs anyone else has about what they think it means about my ability to love, be honest, have fidelity, have safe relationships... all those issues are just that. These are someone else's issues.

That being said...(err, written, err typed) it took me a long time to accept this. It wasn't easy. Initially it was because I was in monogamous relationships. Well, I did have one poly relationship near the start where my partner demanded I accept her polyamoury but blamed me for hurting the relationship when I tried practicing it. Later when I tried being openly poly I made the mistake of dating people who entered the relationship saying, "Oh. Um. Yeah. Sure. Of course I'm okay with it." and then spent the time later in the relationship complaining that I was always thinking about the other partner and that they don't understand why they aren't enough for me.

I got barrages of, "You're just waiting for the next person." and "Well, if you want to love someone else, then you obviously don't have the ability to love me."

So many people telling me what I felt.


There has only been one person who ever argued with what I was feeling and been right about it. This person accused me of being poly at the point when I was denying it the most. I flew off the handle. I was trying to push myself to be something I wasn't and the world just wasn't having it. She could see the real me better than just about anyone I have ever known. (And I've never told her that). She can always see the real me almost as well as my own wife. In my strange little poly heart there will always be a great deal of love for her.

But, the pushback from the people I cared about in the mono-amourous community was just some of the difficulty. Joining (or at least hanging out with) the local poly community has had its own set of difficulties.

<digression>

Someone pointed out to me once:
When a person finds himself looking for a counter culture sub-group, suddenly they aren't quite as different as they used to be. Some people revel in being different and discover they must strike out to be more different, to stay maintain a comfortable feeling.

An example: SCA allergies
I actually heard the following at an SCA event: "Well, if this bowl was even in a kitchen where the chef had handled fish… even if he washed his hands... I'LL DIE! (said with that exact inflection). She then went on to ask the server after every piece of food, "Does this have fish in it? Was it near fish? Was it in the same room with fish?" I got up and moved when she asked about the tea.

Now... some may hazard that I was intolerant and did not take the time to understand her. But, I'd like to point out one major thing here. Regardless of how I felt about her issues, I didn't push my disbelief in her face. I didn't laugh at her questions. I simply didn't perceive that I had the ability to discuss her issues (or for that matter to be around her issues) in a way that would pay her the respect that she felt she deserved.

</digression>

My local poly community has a load of bisexual women in it. As a straight male I have to be honest and say this is a good thing. (You can take that anyway you like :) Many of the men there seemed to me to be bi. It took me quite a while to feel like I was part of the community rather than a guest.

People were kinda nervous about me. This was partially because I was the new guy, but also because I was the new guy. One woman in the community said to me, "Oh, it may take you a while before people warm up to you. It's a guy thing. So many guys aren't really poly, they just show up looking for an easy threesome." Now, I can understand that idea. History has proven that time and time again (as my wife aptly states:) abusive members of a dominant group can ruin the image of all members of the group. So now I have to deal with a stereotype on top of being new in a community.

After a few months of rare appearances in the community I asked someone why I just wasn't naturally feeling like I was making any progress in polyamoury. She said, "You're a guy. You don't get relationships. Getting close to someone isn't just about wanting to have sex with them. In our community it takes time to get to know someone. We're not swingers. You can't just go after the first person you see, and expect they will be interested in you."

This made sense. Right then someone else showed up. The person I was talking to sprung off the couch literally pushing off my shoulder partially as a handhold and partially to push me out of the way. She hugged the new person and said very loudly, "Did you see the new cute boy at the club? We have to go so I can pick him up. I so have to have him." They giggled.

Something in me wanted to walk over and snap her neck.

I understand that this is only one person. I am aware there are different relationship styles. Personally, I'm not opposed to either of these. But their sharp juxtaposition in this case highlighted a hypocrisy that seems all too common in the community.



Recently, I found out that I'd made a false assumption about one of the men in our community. Since it was the norm in our community (in my eyes) I'd believed he was bi; in fact he is also straight. Since then, we've had tons (more) to talk about; we've shared stories, issues, and experiences. Some of the difficulties we've gone through. Some of the wonderful things we've discovered. But in general, this has given me someone to bond with in the community.

So I made a group on LJ called: poly_str8_male and promoted it as:
A place for a minority in the minority to chat about our issues.

This has turned into a bit of a flamish debate as I have been getting comments like:
How dare you as a straight man call yourself a minority?
How dare you feel you've been oppressed or discriminated against?


Folks, I'd like to point out that no matter what uber-gender, race, creed (what exactly is creed?), religion, orientation you may belong to, every one of you is an individual. (Monty Python: "I'm not!") In the grand scheme of things, every one of you is in a minority at one point. I guarantee you, the number of white, male, jewish-raised, thelemic, priests, with ordination, that are straight, albeit poly, who had a parent that was a psychiatrist, who has been married for less than 4 months, comprises a very small circle in the grand scheme of sentient earthlings. Does this mean I feel that I've been discriminated against? Maybe, sometimes, possibly, once, shrug, dunno. Does it mean that I want to meet other "WMJrTpwOSPPsychpMlt4m"s?

F*#& Yeah!

Even if this is someone I discover I don't like, at least I can share something with them that other people just can't connect to.

Now this debate has raged on with accusations that I am leaving the larger community. My feelings about the situation have been called inane , and humourous.

For me... the rant is not so much about anything specific in the ensuing debate. For me it's the fact that there even was a debate.

I want to invite people to a place where they can talk about issues that are not really relevant to the larger group. Why does the larger group feel the need to comment that they feel it's unnecessary? I mean... WTF!?!?!

I honestly don't care if straight men are or are not a minority or a majority of the polyamourous community. Let me repeat this... I don't give a flying f&$* as to what the numbers are.


To sum up, the whole rant comes down to this:
If I'm in a group of 10 people where 8 are explaining to me all the bad stereotypes that come along with being a straight male, and I'm one of 2 guys in the group... I want a place that I can vent to the other guy about that saying, "Well that kind of sucked. Did you feel uncomfortable, too?"

Scolding me and telling me I have no right to believe that I'm uncomfortable when you weren't one of the people being talked about really doesn't help your case. In fact all it really does is further prove the situation.


Now, my other problem is that I love good debate. I like analyzing what was said and trying to pick apart flawed logic. This gets me into far too much trouble. But this is a topic for another post...



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So, I saw the post that you started the group. I sort of shrugged and said "whatever" Mainly because I'm not a straight-poly-male. If I was, I would probably be more interested. *grin*

I can see how you might consider yourself to be in the minority. Even if it wasn't the minority doesn't mean that a group shouldn't be made. *sigh*

But then again, I am used to being in the minority. Not that many physics majors at Cal. Even less of them were women. I was fairly used to being the token female in the group. It did take me until college to run into that type discrimination. *shrug* It was kinda frustrating to say the least.

It's funny. Your perception of most men in the poly community is COMPLETELY opposite to mine. I know precious few bi-men in poly circles. Maybe it's just that my circle is so much smaller. *shrug* I *wish* I knew more bi-poly men.

heh.

I wish I knew more bi-poly women who wished to know me.

I definitely think there is always an ounce of "the number of them looks more than the number of me"

You should write more posts like this. I don't mean to say it's good that you are frustrated enough to write a post like this, but it was educational and entertaining and I enjoyed reading it. Anything else you need to vent about? ^_^

Girls in Ohio that I want to spend time with?

Let me think.... ;)

Ah, so this is the Great Rant!

I know lot of poly people. A lot of those people you know also, both in the SCA and the OTO. I was married to a poly for many years, and accepted this (and it's not why we got divorced ultimately) and accept that many of my friends are poly. I've seen many friends go through a lot of pain by being in what they thought was a polyamorous relationship that turned out not to be... or worse, they were in a polyamorous relationship and one of their partners was in a relationship with someone who was not poly... ooh, that got ugly...

I am not poly. And believe it or not, I've had people criticise me for that, like I am not truly "free" because I am staying monogamous! I had one person call me "pathologically monogamous", like it was some kind of mental condition. What's up with that? It's just the way I am! I can't be something I'm not, can I?

Anyway, I think if being poly is what you discover yourself to be, that's great. You just have to define for yourself what that means and not let other people who call themselves poly define it for you or let people who are monogamous define it for you. It sucks that a few bad eggs become what people associate with a sub-culture. They see one bad example and suddenly it becomes exemplar of everyone involved.

I am not poly. And believe it or not, I've had people criticise me for that, like I am not truly "free" because I am staying monogamous!

Preach on! I have had much the same experience, including where I was told flat out that I just wasn't "evolved" enough to understand Polyamoury...well, back in those days it was just called "open relationships". I also have many poly friends and as long as they're happy and safe, I don't care how many partners they have.

You utterly hit the nail on the head with what you said.

I'm going to pass on a gem I learned in my days as a college newspaper columnist.

People only passionately fuck with you when you're onto something.

I'd love a chance to talk to you offline about this, 'cause you bring up lots of the things that I've thought about too. It would just take much too much time to actually compose my thoughts in LJ.

Ok - just actually read the comments of your intro post that you refer to. Wow. We should definitely talk.

I gotta say, while my thinking towards polyamory and the whole lifestyle surrounding it have taken a bit of a turn since we first met, this makes a hell of a lot of sense. Simply wanting to be able to discuss something with other people without judgement, no matter WHAT that something is, should always be tolerated. I don't care if you're poly, mono, or the Klan, if you're just chatting with other people about what you think, I fail to see the inherent harm you're doing to others.

Despite the fact that you and I are about polar opposites in every single ideological way possible (except being straight and male) you have never once felt the need to try and convince me or alter my way of thinking. Hell, you've even been very tactful about offering opinions, which is more than I can say for myself. :)

So yeah, go you, run your community, just be ready to ban the living fuck out of a LOT of people who come in looking to start shit. I've found that's about 80% of the great unwashed LJ masses these days, so best of luck to you...you'll need it.

Maybe I don't say this often enough, but you are my Hero!

I love to read your rants (not to downplay your frustration of course) as your sweeping articulations of things that have been bothering me for however long always make me feel slightly less angry. Obviously, I'm not a straight poly male, but I am sick to death of people who are hung up about sex and/or so comfortable wallowing in feigned persecution that no one but them is allowed to feel oppressed. And don't get me started on virtual strangers telling one another how they "should" feel.

Anyway, thanks once again for speaking your mind.

Sweetie, we've talked about this a bunch of times, and i'm glad that you're feeling more solid with where your head is at.

Don't let anyone tell you how you feel.

*hug*

I am confused as to why anyone would feel threatened by you starting a group for straight polyamorous men... silly people.
Being out as poly has changed my social life a lot. It started when I was in one of my first openly poly relationships and one of the partners was verbally abusive. I would talk to my (straight, monogamous) friends about this and they would say, "Well OF COURSE you are having relationship problems, because your relationship JUST ISN'T NATURAL!"
Here in Boston there are quite a few bi men in the poly scene, but there seem to be a fair-sized minority of straight men too. I haven't seen the type of sexism you're talking about though, although my personal rant in regards to poly communities is the self-righteous proclamation of "we're not swingers!" It's like they want to impose Christian morality all over my nice little sexually-open universe. As such, I have been considering not calling myself poly any more and just saying "I am sexually open" but then I would get the assholes (even more than I already do) who assume that means I'll fuck them just because they are there and horny... (Sigh...)

Just struck with the last sentence. Yes, sadly large number of people who overlook that sexual freedom includes the freedom to say "I am SO not having sex with you!"

I have a button that says "I'm bisexual and I'm not attracted to you!"

That is a mighty fine piece of writing there Brother. I agree with you, I, while being monogamous have travelled in poly circles myself in my past. I also have a number of friends who are poly. We all seem to get along just fine. Just being friends doesn't mean you have to have sex with them. In fact, in my experience, it is often easier to keep a friendship less complicated by not dragging sex into it. Sometimes it is not a problem and yay! You have a happy threesome or whatever.

I too have encountered the sterotype problems with being a mongamous Thelemite, as if the 2 words were incompatible. They are not. People have told me that I am an abberation, I know better though. I am a nightmare, get it right!

Since Thelema is about doing "Your" Will, then do that. If anyone else says nay, fuck em. I tend not to respect people who claim to be Thelemites, then turn around and deny someone else their own way of thinking. That is a bizarre double standard that too many Thelemites impose on the non-thelemic (ie:muggle) community. Something about Liber Oz comes to mind there.

Being poly is your deal, that's cool. Being straight is your deal, that's cool. I have no idea how anyone can criticize you for it. Those are your choices and good for you for standing up for them.

Sorry to hear that you are getting flak for it. Fight the fight and don't give up.

I have never understood why people feel because someone is different than themsleves that this is an invitation to shove their own beliefs down the others throats. SHAME on those who have come down on you for your beliefs and life.

If you are a consenting adult, and those whom are with you are consenting adults it is nobodies f*cking business but your own.

Maybe you should try to do ShowTune route next time they do this to you. {grin}

I am monogamous, but can see why certain people are poly. No-one has the right to sit in judgement of anyone else. We all are different people with different wants and needs and no-one is better than anyone else because they have a different lifestyle. They are judging you out of their own insecurities.

There is a quote from the Mercedes Lackey Valdemar series that pretty much sums up how I feel "There is no one true way."


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