Thursday, March 20, 2014

Does skin color matter? pt 2 Confession

Originally I was going to write about what kind of woman I hope to meet or my pentient for romance but, I felt the need to elaborate on this video I posted yesterday on YouTube I'm not going to dwell on this topic and I wanted to go into something I missed in my video.

I made it a point to say that I would date a woman of any skin color and I meant that but, I'm not perfect. In fact, confession time. For years, before my own personal set of epiphanies happened, I could not stand to see a black woman with a white man. My parents, as awesome as they are, were brought up to believe that anyone white was our enemy and they projected that onto me and my siblings. Let me be clear I am NOT blaming my great and wonderful parents for my shortcoming before I conquered it, I'm listing all the factors that helped form it. For a while it stuck. It didn't help that I was listening to overly militant black leaders spouting how black women were trained to love white men over us and how black men were leaving their families to be with white women. Sounds harsh, right? Imagine having that drilled into your head for 16 years then being thrown into the world. Of course I questioned the logic in it, even as a kid, but Mom and Dad were always right before and it wasn't just them. All of my older relatives said the same thing. Combine that with being exposed to Rosewood, Malcolm X and all of the pro-black, anti-white movies of the 80's and 90's and that was a recipe for a very angry person.

I was taught that either of these was wrong.

Then came reality.

When I started making friends of all colors and of all genders I was thrown for a loop. They never cared about my race. The white people I had been taught to fear and hate loved my company. More importantly they didn't hate ANY black person. How could this be? They're my enemies...right? That's not to say I haven't experienced racism from caucasians (I do live in Virginia after all) but it wasn't as bad as I was lead to believe.

The thing is I felt the most hate about my very dark skin color from other black people, black girls especially. You can imagine my inner conflict when I was told "You're too black for me to date," by a girl even darker than me but in the same conversation told that I'm "...not black enough," because of my demeanor and mannerisms. Throughout my teenage years this cycle repeated endlessly. "You're too black" "You ain't black enough." Not to mention I started seeing those same girls getting picked up by white guys. This is where the complex started to develop.

Fast forward a few years and some important firsts happen to me. My first kiss, my very first date, my first time having sex and my first real feelings of affection from a girl. All white women. When I told cousin Rochelle she was happy for me but, other black women I knew called me a traitor. Some of them were the same ones who told me I wasn't "black enough" or "too black." How dare you fix your lips to call me a traitor when you never gave me a shot? I lie to you not this was an honest answer I received. "It's okay if we fuck wit white men but, you can't fuck wit white women. Errbody know that." That was the spark. After that I couldn't stand to see any black woman with a white man. The very sight of it made me furious.

Fast forward to three years ago, having been a Free Lover (aka poly person) for about a year. I notice a lot of what I thought was wrong. Having dated women of all colors except Asian (yet), I found that most times interracial relationships happen, not because of some racial agenda, but out of genuine love. I'm still wary of white men at this time though.
Then my Angel, Elouise says those magic words. "Sweety, you sound like a racist when you say things like that." I replayed some of the things I said in my head and she was right.

I was a racist.
I'm glad I realized this lesson in time.

From that day on I made it my mission to never be that young fool again. It took a long time and a lot of self-discipline but eventually I was free of that curse. As it happens two of my new friends are a mixed couple, a white male and black female, and they are two of the coolest people ever. My parents also gave up their racist views when I told them I was a poly person. They welcomed my lifestyle with open arms and all that came with it.

This was harder to type that I anticipated. I'm confessing this to you, Poly Family, because as long as we've been together you've always been straight with me and I felt you deserved the same courtesy. I'm always open to comments and questions here or on my YouTube channel.

And that's all. Live and love freely, everyone.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Polyamory: The New Fad

Poly family, I'm worried. Polyamory has gained popularity over the last few years. The Showtime series "Polyamory: Married and Dating" has shown a couple sides of our beloved and sometimes trying lifestyle. Numerous blogs and websites put it in the public eye more and more. Suddenly scores of people are coming out as poly. Mainstream society has finally begun to recognize that heterosexual monogamy might not work for each and every human being. So why am I worried?

Because I don't want this lifestyle to become a fad, a quick cash in for the media sharks to utilize. Most pictures of the model polyamorous relationship look like the pictures above. Cute, young, perfect bodies, white and, judging from their clothes, wealthy. Just like everything there are people of all shapes, sizes and, in this case, income brackets who live a poly lifestyle. I'm worried about the awkward teenager who has never watched the show but has done actual research on polyamory only to be told they're not "poly material". Worse yet, those of us who have been poly for a while (three years for us if you're curious) may become guarded around newer poly people, pointing our fingers and saying "you're not really poly because..." When those pictures are what's going to be pushed on us as the face of Polyamory, newer poly people are going to come into the picture with a skewed idea of what poly is and we in the lifestyle are going to be on guard.
Lifestyle is the key word here. Loving more than one person isn't something you can turn off like a switch. It's difficult to hide, painful to deny. It's part of who we are, part of what makes us unique. So is it any wonder when I see a picture like this...
I get worried about our lifestyle being popularized and used?
I'm conflicted on this issue however as one the one hand I do want people who would identify as poly but have no idea that there is name and, better still, a community for them to join to know about it but, I loathe the idea of the lifestyle being something for all the Abercrombie and Fitch crowd to "do" on their days off from nothing.
It's like what happened with gaming. As a lady friend of mine put it, we were gamers before it was "cool." I'm talking Atari 2600, NES, Genesis. Back when it was about the games and not the cash in. Then gaming started to get more and more attention and now...Crap of Duty: Modern Cash whore. That's not to say it's a bad game (OK, I came out swinging I know) but, it's such a well done FPS shooter that too many games are now following that formula. The thing is COD altered an already great formula when Halo hit the scene. What I'm saying is with the proliferation of the lifestyle, brand new poly relationships will be molded after others in an attempt to recreate the "model" even when there is no need to.
There are some who already see poly-living as a fad, trend, or a phase and mistake polyamory for swinging. It won't help at all if it's the "hot new thing to try." This is who we are. It's not fashionable, it's not an accessory or a way to get more sex (though that does happen...a lot) it's about being true to ourselves and truthful with those around us. It's understanding that we can give multiple parts of ourselves to others and love every second of it. It's a lot of heartache, ridicule and perceived deviance which can land us in trouble with close-minded people in places of authority.
It's hard. Being made into a fashion statement won't make it easier.

Maybe I should look on the bright side. Maybe the popularity train will pass us by and we'll proliferate the right way, with people researching the subject and word of mouth. If not it'll only be five years until polyamory is "retro". Oh Hell on wheels, retro always comes back in style...

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Fabled Unicorn and Couples Privilege

During my time as a free lover the term "Unicorn" has been thrown around a lot. If you don't know what that is (I'm sure that applies to no one in this blogs target audience), the term refers to the mythical horse or goat-like animal with a spiraling horn growing from it's forehead. It's supposed to relate how rare a bi-sexual female who is into dating couples is. Funny because only virgins are supposed to be able to capture one. Also bi-women who want to date couples actually exist but, in much smaller numbers than the couples who want to date them. 

Now as the male half of one such couple, I'm not going to try to speak for all poly-male-female-seeking-women-couples but, I will address a few things that caught my attention about the subject.
Now in assuming that most couples who identify as polyamorous are genuine, I'll go out on a limb and say that poly couples who date bi-women exclusively aren't doing so with malicious or lecherous intent. We truly seek to meet a woman who thinks as much of each of us as we do her and each other. We want to love everything about her from her interests to her flaws, of which she may have as many as each of us. We want to build something lasting with the three of us. Together. Hopefully it grows into a relationship where we all share the same roof, resources and pains. The three of of will discuss any problems that arise as a family and work through them together.

The only problem is, just like monogamous dating, finding the woman or man that is just right is a total crap shoot. Again I am reminded of how fortunate me and Elouise were to have found Candy the way we did. She wanted the same things we did. We accepted each others faults and virtues. Most importantly though, we made her feel like was a member of our family because she was. She still is.
Also for the woman it's especially risky as the couple may not be as "secure" as they purport to be. This really well written article on Couples Privilege makes a point that some couples feel that they're adding to what they have but, give no regards to the woman that may be potentially become part of their family. She isn't looking to fix a broken relationship or be a live in sex toy. This is a person with their own desires and needs. She has to be given the same consideration as if you weren't trying to add to a couple. This story, and this alienating article about it, is a particularly extreme example of how an insecure, jealous couple can make it unappealing for bi women to join a established couple (please bear in mind this is a fringe of an otherwise lovely sect of people). On a personal note, the fact that they're all African American really hit home for me, especially after having experienced the polar opposite where there was love overflowing between us three. It doesn't really paint a good picture of us. Fortunately around 96% of poly folks are wise enough to realize that one incident like this doesn't represent an entire race. The point that stuck out to me the most was that love became a problem in this relationship when it came from someone other than the established couple.

This brings me to Couples Privilege. How, as a couple, we unconsciously protect our relationship above all else. What does it mean to us?

Absolutely nothing.

It doesn't really matter to us because we never exercised it, from the many descriptions I've read about the subject and there are maybe HUNDREDS of different articles about it. We haven't ever made the relationship about "us and her" or set down "rules" about what should and should not happen. Neither Elouise or myself like restrictions so to set them on someone else who wanted to be with one or both of us was never in the cards. Our relationship was stable enough that we weren't worried about an outside force breaking it apart so we definitely saw no threat from someone we were inviting in. Also this flawed woman, whoever she would have been (turns out she was an awesome woman) we wanted to feel welcome and safe. That couldn't happen if we were constantly trying to protect something that didn't need protecting from someone who was no danger to it.
In the aforementioned article on couples privilege,the final three paragraphs speak about trust. Not trusting one's partner or worse not trusting the new woman or man in the relationship. That's why I think Elouise and I had and still have so much success in our romantic pursuits. Because we trust each other implicitly and unconditionally. It's why we date together and separately. Just think about. Why waste so much energy suspecting and questioning everything about my partner? If that's the case why even bother being in a relationship, poly or otherwise? We are in a relationship because we love each other and to be happy. Suspicion and happiness don't even belong in the same paragraph (yea, I know just roll with it.)

Not my work but I like the message.
To be fair no one ever really mentions how couples can be used by bi-women. Whether it's to have a place to live, extra money to burn or, in our case, used for sex, couples are taken advantage of as well. There was a time right after Candy had to leave for Japan we jumped right back into the dating pool, separately and jointly. There was a woman who I'm not going to name who called us only when she was horny and her boyfriend wasn't satisfying her. After about two months we realized she wasn't at all what she claimed and we backed off (Elouise backed off before me) but not before she shook our faith in loving freely. Fortunately we took it as a learning experience and moved on.

In the end the idea of a bi-woman or man who wishes to be with a couple isn't as far fetched as it seems but, it does require a big human investment on the part of all involved. At times it will feel like a futile search for both sides but, the end result, if you have all the parts in place, is worth the immense effort.