by Milla — she=he
I’m still getting over a seriously bad ‘poly‘-experience, full of not only rejection but as well emotional/power games, callousness and degradation [male chauvinism, sexism]. I told a friend in December, last year, that my only goal for the coming year would be to stay clear of ‘psycho’ intimate relations. That this would mean a major improvement in my life. [Not so hard for me to ‘achieve’ since there aren’t that many people interested..] I’m continuously pining for companionship, sexual intimacy, and someone/s to share my daily life with, and still — staying ‘single’ would be way better than what I had been through. The possibility of going through the same thing again would just be ‘too much’ for me to risk; mental health going straight down the spiraling slope of self-loathing and misanthropy to — Deep Depression. Well. It’s been a year, and I guess I’m open (or: maybe more like — Desperate 🙂 ) for trying Something again. Hopefully a bit more positive. A bit more tender, caring and nurturing than what I’ve experienced before. Something a bit more – mutual.
I used creative spelling for ‘dating’ on the paper put up on the wall in Piritta, announcing what was going on in that part of the café. Influenced by the finnish polypikadeitti I wrote ‘poly speed deitting’. Someone crossed out one ‘t’, but didn’t bother to change the ‘ei’ to ‘a’ 🙂
Anyhow. I and another person were interested in meeting more persons + making the regular polyamory-meetings in Helsinki different/more inclusive. We tried some speed dating. The estimated 3 to 15 participants, turned out to be 9 when meeting up at Cafe Piritta in a snow-fluffy, cold Helsinki.
I have been fairly depressed and in an agitated emotional state, suffering from trauma, exhaustion and isolation. It was nice to break off the continuous crying, home alone, obsessively playing sudoku on the computer, to keep my mind occupied by something less harmful than negative feelings and full-on frustration. And..
The event was — a success! As one person pointed out, it would be great to do this in the summer, outside, with more persons. Even though we were few, we still managed to be a bit disorganized in ‘pairing up’. More about this in the sum up of what we did:
We started off with an ice-breaker – a simple game, where everyone gets to interact, with the purpose of creating a relaxed atmosphere, and for everyone to have a common experience together — everybody walking around, comparing and marveling at the many differences and similarities in the shape of our little fingers 🙂
Then we got a form with a number on it (1, 2, 3 etc). And the possibility to fill in “interested”, “not sure”, “not interested” by each number (1-9) listed in a row, on the back of the paper. It was said that the interest marked on the paper would not necessarily mean ‘romantic’ interest, but any interest to get in touch after the event. Because of this, and also for practical reasons, people were not paired up according to sexual orientation or any other affinity, but everyone would get time to meet and speak with everybody else. After this we walked around freely in the space, sitting down, or standing, taking contact with a new person to talk with by putting our palm to their palm (at least I did this, I’m not sure if everybody did..) When suggesting that we would ‘get in touch’ with one another this way, I was also encouraging people to say openly if they did not wish to have physical contact with the other, and that this ‘rejection’ would not ‘damage anybody for life’. Since we were few, we extended the initial chatting time from 5 minutes to 7. We were an un-even number, so this would mean that one person would need to step out of each turn. This part we managed to mess up (an easy way to keep from having extra rounds, would be for one person to say what person would stay out of each round: first round – number 1, second round – number 2, and so on..) For some reason, we needed an extra round for everybody to get to talk with one another.
After the speed dating, we had a feedback round, also this a bit disorganized — maybe not everybody used to having a round where people take turns speaking un-interrupted. The general feeling about the happening was positive.
We talked a bit about the paper-form: It would be good to keep the contact information, to be shared with the persons we were interested in talking more with, minimized to email to not make it too complicated with ‘nicks’ for internet forums and msn and so forth. Also that there could be two forms to fill in – one where people mark who they would like to contact again. And another for personal notes, to remember the different participants by (for instance writing down the names next to the numbers, or for persons with a lousy name and face memory like myself – to write some key word/s from what the conversation was about, in order to later make sense of who was who, when receiving some person’s email address).
The system for sharing contact information: You would receive the contact information of anybody you marked “interest” in, unless this person would have marked you with an unhappy smiley (not interested). You would also receive the contact info of persons who had marked you with “interest”, unless you had marked them with a ‘sad face’. The contact information would state if the other had marked you with a “happy face” or “not sure”. Someone made a comment about the ‘sad face’ not being a nice marker, and it was said that it could be more correct having some other indicator [for instance a crossed out ’email’ or ‘@’ icon] showing that people, for whatever reasons, would not wish to share their contact-info (it wouldn’t necessarily be a complete disliking of you as a person, but for instance persons participating only wanting to share their email with persons they’re Absolutely Super-Interested in meeting with again).
We talked a bit about the time, and it seemed that 7-8 minutes was okay to get a feel for the other. Someone was saying that it would get tiring with this much time if there would be more persons, and it was suggested that there could be breaks where people could just ‘hang out’ or not speak, if we were more.
It was said that the repetition of topics could also be boring, (“How did you get into polyamory?” “What’s your take on poly?”), and that one way to stay clear of that, would be to ask everybody in the beginning to take responsibility for keeping the conversation relevant/interesting to themselves, by clearly indicating/stating to the other what would be ‘fun’ to talk about, and stop/drop any ‘boring’ subjects. For me personally, questions like “What is the purpose of feminism?” “Do feminists hate men?”, would be the typical ‘turn-off’ topics, and I guess everybody has their own idea of what they wouldn’t want to spend 7 minutes (or even 1) talking about with another person.
We spoke some of the word ‘dating’, and the general conclusion seemed to be that in spite of this term being a bit misguiding for an event like this, it would still be nice to keep it, since pikadeitti (speed dating) is not only about hanging out and socializing, but is also open for the possibility of encountering ‘romantic’ interests, and for persons with ‘haku päällä’ — looking for this type of love. It was said that it would be nice to make this kind of happening open for persons not looking for ‘romance’, by making it clear in the description/invitation to the event that it’s also (even mostly) about nice relaxed ‘un’-romantic social interaction. A different form of group activity.
I wrote this sum-up directly after the event, and it’s only a rough draft of what happened, and I probably left out a lot of important/interesting thoughts/feelings/opinions shared. Everything mentioned is skewed towards my own wants and wishes. Mostly this is a short sharing of the “cool! nice! i want to do this again and again!” feeling I got after taking part in this 🙂
And sometime, at some point: Maybe, possibly, even meet people to share physical, mental, verbal intimacy with. I wish I wish I wish.
To all who participated, to all who are curious of what went on — With love.
I’m looking forward to reading more feedback on the polyforum 🙂
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