36 Hours in the City of Good and Evil

This weekend I flew into Washington DC for a birthday party. I figure, what’s the point of being a young professional in your 30’s with no kids if you can’t jet across the country for parties from time to time. Despite the 4-hours of sleep on a red-eye, fighting with Amtrak, DC Metro, and just the general suck of the infrastructure in this city I am crazy happy that I made the trip. To be honest, I’m trying to figure out a way Anna and I can come in for a party next week where I might be able to show off my fire dancing skills a little (if I can figure a way to transport a 5’0″ fire staff on an airplane… I wonder if that is on the TSA “no-fly” list).

I’ve really found that I enjoy coming back to the District from time-to-time. I hated living here (seriously… hated it) but the people I know here are some of the greatest humans I’ve  ever encountered and they know how to party and make someone feel welcome. I have a certain level of comfort with them that I don’t often experience. As an introvert I usually hate big social events and I even had to retreat to a quiet corner a half dozen times last night just to recenter myself. It is exhausting meeting new people, I’d much rather have a small intimate conversation with close friends than be surrounded by bodies and noise.

If I’m really being honest though, there was something else on my mind from early on. I have known all week that I would be meeting a bit of a liberty internet celebrity crush of mine at this party. Having a physical, sexual attraction to someone is easy but it is often little more than fantasy in the beginning and I think one advantage of meeting people online is quickly moving to real discussions and an opportunity to develop an intellectual attraction of substance. As a poly, open, anarchist I often have to retreat to the internet to find like-minded people and because of that my social skills are often sub-par.

I found myself nervous (which is actually kind of rare) as we started talking and I was oddly aware of my mannerisms and voice patterns. The conversations we had were absolutely what I needed though. To just sit back and talk to someone about dealing with jealousy, rules we have in place with our partners, how we came to our views, and where we see ourselves in the future was a highlight of my trip. It is rare I can talk to someone in person because I spend half the time defending my personal choices or going over basics, to have a personal conversation about life from a non-judgmental person was something that has been missing from my life. I only wish we would have had more time to talk and dive into even deeper subjects and see if this can blossom into a real friendship. Of course, the idealist creative side of me is forecasting way into the future…

So, this little patch of swampland continues to redeem itself despite sitting at the center of all that is wrong with society. One of the lessons from my bike ride last summer was that people matter and that people are good, and that is why I like visiting DC, the people. I’m sure I’ll be back soon you ugly, muggy, toxic, sad, power-thirsty, hive of scum and villainy.

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“Un-Memorizing the ‘Silence is Sexy’ Date Script” – Some Thoughts

One of the things I love about Facebook is it has allowed a diverse group of people to stay more intimately in my life than would otherwise be possible. People who I’ve met only superficially are able to passively share their interests and passions with me and from those interests valuable conversations can form. Yesterday this article was posted by someone who I have only met once or twice (in fact, I think I met her at a party to help send her to Burning Man in 2010 but I was embarrassingly drunk and hope she doesn’t really remember that). The article was then posted today by someone who I have a much stronger internet relationship with than I ever had with her in real life.

Well, I posted that article today after reading it and for once didn’t really know what I thought. I am pleased that a conversation developed on my wall among my diverse network and with it came links and resources for those interested in what was being discussed (it truly is a wonderful time to be alive). Anyway, here are some of the thoughts from my perspective. I am not far enough removed from my ego to clearly see this from another person’s perspective but maybe some day.

As an introvert it has always been a nerve-racking experience to navigate intimate interactions. I like explicit consent in all things but much of society tells us that men  need to be the aggressor and try to interpret puzzling (to me) signals that women give off. To be honest, I have no idea if eye-contact and a smile is really an invitation to say hi… or if a touch on the arm is flirting or something else… I already suck at it and the INTJ part of me fears making someone else uncomfortable way more than my own rejection. I am very comfortable alone and don’t mind going home from a bar or party by myself.

The internet has provided me with a way around that though. I can passively share my thoughts online which will attract those people who might be interested in similar things. While I don’t use my blog and FB to call out specific people, when I post polyamorous views, comfort with BDSM, and a sex-positive outlook it opens up dialogue between me and other people  (though bangwithfriends is still an awesome concept in my mind). But, in some ways I kind of view this as a cop out.

I still don’t approach women often or initiate any type of relationship. I often use my online openness as an excuse to be passive in real life by telling myself “they must not be interested or else they would say something”. There are still signals to navigate and games to play, but this article provide me with some good dialogue once intimacy has started and has also started online conversations around the issue of pressure placed on women to be the gatekeepers of sex and the social norm of men pushing the boundaries.

I love the idea of very explicit consent and I am glad these things are being talked about. I think more women would be open to expressing their sexuality if they knew that they wouldn’t be harshly judged by their partner(s) or friends. In the same vein, men (or at least I) would be more likely to approach women if we didn’t feel like every expression of interest was a huge inconvenience or would be interpreted as an attempt to use and abuse. Basically, I don’t want women to interpret my attraction or interest in intimacy as pressure or something chauvinistic.

I certainly would love it if we could send clear and concise signals in all situations. It would be absolutely fantastic to have a woman who was attracted to me to send me a FB message like “hey, you’re cute and I’d like to cuddle and kiss for a bit at some point” (or a more kinky couple to come up and say “hey, you and you’re girlfriend are cute, how about you two curl up with us and see how things go”) and know that all actions would be communicated clearly. As was pointed out by my friend, people into kink (particularly BDSM and polys) do have a more established culture of explicit consent and open communication, I can only hope that the internet age will usher this in for all intimate relationships because sex and love is awesome when all parties are open and satisfied.

Playa Bound!!!!

Okay, this will just be a crazy post. I got my Burning Man ticket and I am crazy excited to get back home!!!! This is my third time going and it looks like it will be very different than previous years. I certainly don’t know what the future holds but it looks like right now I will be going with one of my partners and will be one of the more senior members of my social circle. There is tons still up in the air but there may also be many of my friends, new and old, going this year. I don’t know, I’m crazy excited and can’t really stop smiling. Burning Man is my birthday, new years, Christmas, home, travel, adventure, community, blargh, retreat, place of peace, love, cuddle puddle, everything in one crazy unbelievable week. Maybe I will even take a few pictures this year.