Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Poly Meet Up


I (Mimi) started a meet-up group in New Orleans.  It’s called the NOLA Poly Krewe Meet-UpGroup

The group is for people who are in polyamorous or open relationships, interested in or curious about polyamory and open relationships, or identify as poly.  The idea of meet-up is that members can set up events, invite other members, and get to know others with similar interests—in this case, doing polyamorous and open relationships.

I established the NOLA Poly Krewe the middle of July, and we already have 57 members! 

We had our first event a couple of weeks ago—a happy hour at a local watering hole. 

When Marc and I arrived, we looked around the bar to see if we might recognize some of the krewe based on their profile pics.  There was some discussion of everyone wearing something red, so I was in red knee-high boots.  As I looked around, I didn’t see much red, but I did see four people sitting together and talking as if they had just met.  They were also looking around and seemed to focus on Marc and me, so I approached them.

“Are you here for the meet-up?”  They smiled and nodded.  “I’m Mimi and this is Marc.  

We all shook hands and introduced ourselves. 

Once we settled in with our cocktails, we began talking about why we were there, what our relationship status and situations were, and how we imagined the group taking shape. 

Within 15 minutes, there were so many people that we had to relocate to a different part of the bar.

Over the course of the evening, 24 people showed up. 

When Marc and I talked about how we wanted the evening to go, we realized that we were approaching the meet up group from different angles, which we hope, will make for a good blog post.  

So, what does the meet-up group mean to you? How did you want the Happy Hour to go?  Now that it’s over, were your expectations met, what, if anything, surprised, pleased, or disappointed you?

Mimi:
For the first time in my life, I really felt like I was among my peeps.  The second I sat down and started chatting it up with the four folks who were there when we arrived, I knew that starting the group up was a good idea.

I had become aware of a poly meet-up group in Chicago and joined.  I figured that, since Scott lives in Chicago, perhaps we could participate when I’m up there.  Then I thought, why not start a poly group in New Orleans? 

It took all of twenty minutes to set up the website and post a link on my FB wall.  I also sent out private messages to friends requesting they consider joining and spread the word to others. 

My main goal in setting up the meet-up group was to find and network with others who are poly and open.  While I love the educator role, and I’m happy to answer people’s questions about doing an open, poly relationship, I was hoping to find others with whom I could really talk rather than explain.  I also hoped to find people who are negotiating some of the more difficult parts of poly so that Marc, Scott, and I could learn from and lean on others and not feel like we’re all alone and inventing the wheel.

Well, cha-ching! 

We met a couple who will soon be moving in with another couple to form a quad.  I spent some time talking with a woman who has been in the poly scene for years and goes to poly conferences (and has met the fabulous Minx, host of PolyamoryWeekly, who, according to this person is as sexy in person as she is on the podcast).  I met some folks who had grown tired of the swinging scene and were seeking more emotionally intimate, sexual relationships, and others who were perfectly happy with the swinging scene, but also were interested in establishing different kinds of relationships. 

I talked to more than one person who said that they have always thought plural relationships made more sense even before they were even in a relationship.  One woman I talked with said that she was single, had never been in a polyamorous relationship, but knows that it’s the way she wants to live.  I asked her if she was interested in dating a couple.  She paused for a moment and then slowly a smile emerged.  “Yeah.  I never thought about it that way, but yeah.  That would be nice.” 

We also met a heterosexual couple that has been in a triad with another man for 15 years.  Marc spent a lot of time talking with the man about what it’s like when the woman you love is in love with another man.  I don’t think Marc has ever talked to another man doing any kind of poly or open relationship, let alone one who has been part of a man-woman-man triad for 15 years!   Talk about getting some perspective.  And it didn’t hurt that they were fun and  folks with whom we’d definitely like to spend more time. 

Come to think of it, everyone was fun.  There is something about people who choose to be poly and/or open.  They are open-minded, interested in and good at making connections with others, and invariably have clever and wicked senses of humor—a must for anyone swimming against the sexual tide. 

A couple of people asked me if I was bisexual. 

I gave them my usual response. “No.  I don’t identify as bisexual.  I’m not attracted to genders.  I’m attracted to people who aren’t rigid in their ideas about gender and sexual orientation and who aren’t over-invested in the idea of monogamy.  I’m polyqueer more than anything else.” 

Instead of getting that deer-in-the-headlights stare, I got a nod and a smile.  Some version of, “Yeah, exactly,” felt like a breath of fresh air.  Don’t get me wrong, I have a strong exhibitionist streak (Ya, think?), so I don’t mind the deer-in the-headlights stare, questions, or the opportunity to explain.  But it was nice, for a change, to be around people who get me, who are like me in this one very important way.  I wasn’t the freak in the room, and I loved it. 

When it comes down to it, we can read all the books and blogs and listen to all the podcasts, but when we’re doing something so outside the norm, it’s hard not to question ourselves.  Talking and laughing with real, live people who are doing it too makes it seem less daunting.  Spending two hours with like-minded folks reinforced my convictions and desire to follow my heart and my libido and continue on this poly path.   

Marc:
Marc has decided to sit out for this one.  Hopefully he'll be back for the next.  If enough people told him how much this blog depends on his perspective, maybe he'll change his mind and chime in on his experience of the poly krewe meet up.  

If any readers want to chime in with their own experiences of the poly meet-up or connecting with others around poly and open relationships, please comment!

2 comments:

  1. Congratulations on the success of the Poly Meet Up Mimi!
    No doubt it was great for you guys to be surrounded by people of a like mind.
    Marc, I hope you come back soon man, it's nice having both perspectives.
    You two are my poster children for open poly and how to navigate the waters of this brave new world.
    I'm positive I'm not the only one that feels that way!!

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  2. Hope that Marc keeps adding to the conversations. As my wife and myself enter the poly world it is great to have his perspective.

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