thursday

August 9th, 2007 | Oddments

I just made this long comment at the end of the last post, but then it occurred to me it would be better to start a new post. So I’m just repeating myself here. With a few small edits as befits the transformation from casual comment to formal post:Wow. I just read through all the comments on episode #511 in one go. I don’t want to get all schmaltzy…or schmeary…but it’s deeply gratifying to see people discussing the characters so thoughtfully. In fact I feel a little sheepish sometimes, when you see more than I intended in some places, or point out holes in the story I haven’t spotted.

I cringed a bit at Mabel’s comment about how the strip “just hasn’t been right” for a while now–but only because I know she’s absolutely right. I, too, felt like this latest episode worked in a way things haven’t for a long time. What with Fun Home and my crazy book tour year, I was always just trying to get the strip done, as opposed to getting it done properly. Now that my life is quieting down a bit and I’m still on the once-a-month strip schedule, I hope I’ll be able to keep up my standards better.

Though I must say, cutting back to once a month isn’t as big of a time-saver as I thought it would be since I have so much more stuff to fit in each episode. More storyline to keep track of, more current events to condense.

Anyhow. Thanks for all your comments. The polyamory discussion was most educational. I also enjoyed the speculation about Sydney’s thickening waist (yes, she’s pregnant) and whether Lois was yawning, dropping her jaw in surprise, or taking a bite of her bagel. If I drew at a proper size instead of microscopically, I could perhaps have done a better job here. It’s a bagel. She’s supposed to look kinda bored.

Alex the Bold’s SLA intervention, complete with black berets, was also highly amusing.

Oh, and thanks to people who pointed out where Sydney’s scar scene with Madeleine was. Yeah, it wasn’t in a regular strip, but was part of the extended story at the end of “Invasion of the DTWOF.” That piece also includes Sydney’s only other “I love you” to Mo, which was delivered under similarly fraught circumstances–right after she had sex with Madeleine at the MLA Convention.

syd i love you

138 Responses to “thursday”

  1. DeLandDeLakes says:

    Alison, if it’s not too much to ask, could you possibly re-post the strip that is excerpted above? I started searching through the archive yesterday, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. I never saw that one and I would like to.

    Thanks!

  2. Josiah says:

    DeLand, you’ve got to read more carefully. Alison says that the panel isn’t from a regular strip, but from the story at the end of Invasion of the Dykes to Watch Out For. Buy the book!

    Speaking of which, aren’t we about due for another compilation volume? (I don’t want to put pressure on Alison — just wondering what the plans are.)

  3. Anonymous says:

    Good Goddess! When did Sydney get pregnant?

  4. Jmillz says:

    Sydney’s pregnant?! OMGWTF. How? Who? Huh?

  5. straight girl fan says:

    About the boredom in response to Ginger’s announcement: I don’t think it’s supposed to make Stuart and Lois look cold, it’s more a commentary on Ginger, who has been paralysis-of-analysis girl for decades. By the time she makes a decision, everyone else is so past ready for it, they can’t even manage a pretense of surprise.

    As for Sydney being pregnant, I think Alison is making with the fun. Triple bonus points to her for getting people to fall for it!

  6. Al et al. says:

    Is AB joking? Or did Madeline knock Sydney up?

  7. mlk says:

    if Sydney’s pregnant, it may explain where Ammar’s been getting his!

  8. judybusy says:

    Well, there is now documentation of captive female sharks getting pregnant and giving birth with no male involvement. If anyone could do parthenogenesis, it’d be Sydney!

  9. Mother of Two Siamese Cats says:

    DTWOF is going to do what it does. Most readers want Sydney’s character erased entirely but that decision is best left for AB, either way the outcome will be interesting. Since AB has decreased the frequency of the DTWOF I ended up purchasing Fun Home. The dialogues, reactions and people presented in her memoir provide subject material for the characters she created in the DTWOF strip. Sydney and Mo both bear likenesses to Alison’s father, whom she described as being a Minotaur where she never knew when he would turn into a monster. Her perceptions of her father were mixed. Alison’s mother as she got older seemed tired and bitter like Toni, when her father was in the ARMY one of the G.I.’s that looks at one of her father’s books bears a resembance to Lois, the pinch funerla home director looked a little like Harriet, Joan looked like one of the exes from DTWOF “Serial Monogamy”. What struck me was when Alison was talked about her summer to a coworker and was laughing about how her father was hit by a truck it because reminded me of how the DTWOF character Thea when she told Mo why she was in a wheelchair and laughing about it. The books in Fun Home and in the DTWOF strongly reflect AB’s lifestyle and culture, books have always had a secondary presence where (to quote some AB words) the books lent to the exhibit of her life and her work. Books were a integral part of AB’s life where the books were her father’s escape from a mundane life that the regretted and she took a similar path through books to try to reach her father through the writings of Proust, Camus and F. Scott Fitzgerald, all whom were trapped and tragic figures, some who are of their own chosen devices. I’m sure her father wanted to live the life of Proust and live a bohemian lifestyle in Paris or Tangiers but his Pennsylvania roots and the culture of close-knit families (who never leave) won out. The difference between Bruce and Alison, with their once-shared avocation and passion for books, is the difference between wanting to escape and liberation that can set people free.

  10. Jessica says:

    OHHHHHH! Maybe she did this without Mo knowing, and then in typical Sydney fashion she’ll just casually mention it while eating a bag of pretzels and sauntering back to her desk, “Oh, I got inseminated. Last July”. Leaving Mo to look aghast and shocked, with her shoulders slumped, with those little sweat droplets flying off of her brow.

  11. fictiondept says:

    Alison — You rock!

    Unlike Mother of Two Siamese Cats, I don’t want Sydney gone. I think she’s very real and as much as I don’t like what she’s doing and how she’s behaving, she is busy just bungling along in her life trying to find her footing and fucking up along the way.

    As always, I eagerly await the next installment!

  12. Mother of Two Siamese Cats says:

    I never said I wanted Sydney but was commenting on the general consensus. It is my impression that Mo and Sydney could be Alison’s father dichotomized. He was reckless when he had affairs with young males using books and his “airs” as a lure (Sydney) to the point that his reputation and teaching career were on the line but on the other hand he was resourceful, knowledgeble and wanted to genuinely share what he knew with others (Mo) like his daughter before he died. Caricatures of Sydney’s father bear a slight resemblance to Bruce in Fun Home.

  13. Mother of Two Siamese Cats says:

    I never said I wanted Sydney to be erased from DTWOF but was commenting on the general consensus. It is my impression that Mo and Sydney could be Alison’s father dichotomized. He was reckless when he had affairs with young males using books and his “airs” as a lure (Sydney) to the point that his reputation and teaching career were on the line but on the other hand he was resourceful, knowledgeble and wanted to genuinely share what he knew with others (Mo) like his daughter before he died. Caricatures of Sydney’s father bear a slight resemblance to Bruce in Fun Home.

  14. JenK says:

    I think all the characters are different aspects of Alison.
    Mo, Clarice, Toni…
    Does this mean Alison is breaking up with herself?

    *ducks*

  15. shadocat says:

    I disagree MO2SC’s; I think a lot of us (such as myself) would be delighted if Mo just once grew a backbone and kicked Syd to the curb. But I do think it would be a huge mistake to send a character like hers to cartoon limbo. She’s a story motivator; without characters like her. we’d have just a happy little haven where the people are pretty contented, but nothing very interesting ever happens.

  16. JenK says:

    Remember when Mo and Sydney first got together? Remember when Lois told Mo not to get serious about someone like Sydney?

    Mo: “And just what is Sydney like?”
    Lois: “Me.

    Somehow I’d like to see Lois moderating one of Mo and Sydney’s fights. 🙂

  17. Mother of Two Siamese Cats says:

    To Shadocat: It takes a while for people to get a spine and issue walking papers to their once-better (but now worse) half. The Sydney character keeps things interesting and AB will do what she does best. In the very first DTWOF book there is a strip called Theory & Practice about how hard it is to break up. This may apply.

    The first book has a stoty titled “The Crush” and the character does not yet have a name or wear glasses but appears to be Mo-like or it’s probably a younger version of AB (who got into the early habit of staying in good shape through martial arts and appears to have stayed with it) when she lived in New York City. I tend to believe “The Crush” was a true story because of the black and white photo that showed the karate class and an apartment that resembles the ones in NYC, where AB lived in her younger days. In the first DTWOF Mo’s character practiced martial arts with Clarice but was never shown practicing martail arts in the books that followed.

  18. shadocat says:

    Yes, I read that story/book about 25 years ago—it’s a true story about a young Alison.

    About 10years (give or take a few) ago, Alison gave an interview in which she said she didn’t do or write about karate anymore, because she didn’t feel like fighting anymore.

    Mo has been with Sydney since, what–1992? I think 15 years is sufficient enough time to “grow a spine” And by the way, Sydney was NEVER Mo’s better half! (Just MHO).

  19. Mother of Two Siamese Cats says:

    I took martial arts in my early 20’s when I first came out as a way to protect but had already narrowly escaped becoming victim to a hate crime when four men chased me out of gay dance club near Harvard Square. Six months later I was chased again.

    I practiced Karate for about 8 years and decided that I enjoyed running a lot better than sparring. I decided to run when my karate studio had a Saturday morning run on rattlesnake mountain.

    I also did not like what was happening in the martial arts scene where the studio I belonged was seemed to bringing in more students than the floor could accomodate. Third and fourth degree blacks belts all wanted to capitalize on the Teenage Mutant Nija Turtle craze and young guys wanted to emulate Jean Claude Van Damme. One of the most dangerous belts can be a white belt because they cannot control their power. A lot of beginners were men (who were insecure) that didn’t want a female black belt with a higher to show them up and they would kick and punch hard. They wanted to prove they were stronger but martial arts is more about skill than strength.

    I decided to pursue running as a serious competitive sport. In races nobody gets hurt and everyone feels good. The people I race with are good friends who inspire me and support me and are not rivals I’m competing against. Martial arts is more adversarial and running is a fun sport where there are no kicks, punches and bruises.

    Martial arts has its benefits of increased flexibility but so does yoga and if I was in a situation where I was in danger my best defense would be to run. It wasn’t martial arts that protected me near Harvard Square but being able to outrun people.

  20. Aunt Soozie says:

    Is he related to that Drag King?
    Jean Claude Coq Au Vin Damme?

    Excellent strip…fun to come home from vacation and have that to read…and the zillions of fascinating comments.

    Alison…it’s wrong of you to create such a serious rumor about Sydney.

    I think it’s time you ‘fess up and admit that it’s you that’s pregnant. Yes friends, it was unplanned but when Alison came to Philadelphia we had a little rendevous and …well …sometimes even women in their forties can conceive …it happens. That little paunch you think you see on Sydney is just Alison’s budding baby belly. You know she uses herself as a model.

    That sultry, seductive, siren, Ellen Forney is already alleging that the child is hers but time will tell…the wee AB will have my smile, I know it. Ellen, please calm down, we don’t want to end up on Maury Povich.

  21. Deena in OR says:

    Aunt Soozie,

    We are pwned!!! We are not worthy!!

    OOOhhh!!!, Oooohhh!! Can I be the goddemamma???

  22. shadocat says:

    Soozie, you devil-woman!

    Btw, our contest is still on—I’ll write something at our usual meeting place…

  23. LondonBoy says:

    Just to say that I have always loved “The Crush”. It’s beautiful.

  24. LondonBoy says:

    Oh, and despite being very poor at decoding these things, I’m almost 100% certain that AB’s comment about Sydney being pregnant is a joke. The context for it to be a serious statement doesn’t seem to be right: when people make a comment like that seriously there’s usually a signal phrase ( to indicate a change in emotional mode ) immediately preceding it, and I don’t see one here.

  25. D.F. says:

    suzie you’re such a stud, knockin’ future puliter prize-winners up n’ all… yeah, we gotta feeling in that picture on the blog that you were up ta somethin’…

    wonder what we can surmise about AB’s early home life, the blurring of fiction & reality, and her inner workings from this… AB the pregnant sydney… maybe she’s the baby too? or would that be her father’s young maybe-lover from Fun Home…

    sorry Mother, couldn’t resist. i mean, AB’s a real person here, n’ as much as whip out the non-consensual therapist’s couch sometimes, i *try* to at least remember she’s gonna be reading it, and damn, even exhibitionist introverts have gotta have some head space to themselves…

    …but hey, having said that to totally jump on the bandwagon myself:

    i still see only a shade of separation between lois and sydney and mo …do think they’re all the same person, really — AB’s self-stated switching of primary affiliation from one to the other partly what i’m going on (wonder if that’s still the case… oh, yeah, SuZ, you really did get it right)… anyway i’m w/ JenK on this one,

    n’ can’t believe no one’s responded yay or nay to the Lois – Sydney together proposition. does no one else see the combustion.

    ok i’ll shut up about it now.

  26. kat says:

    The pregnant thing has to be a joke (though now, she’ll do it to spite us).

  27. Tone says:

    I can’t believe AB would joke about an earthquake like that. What a totally unexpected development! It will be very interesting to see if Mo sticks around for this. They don’t exactly strike me as ideal parents together, but who’s to say? And even though Clarice and Toni seem like ideal parents, they haven’t been doing such a great job lately (I am re-reading too, and I can’t believe how long their relationship have been really bad! It is impossible for me to understand how anyone can want them to keep staying together).

    I think one of the reasons why I love AB’s work so much is that most of her characters are complex enough to be loveable even when they do stupid things. You feel you know where they are coming from, and then you are able to forgive that they are not perfect.

    Since many of the readers obviously identify quite strongly with different characters, this also can have a therapeutic effect! If I see my own self as a tension between my Mo-side and my Sydney-side (which I in fact do), the strip can help me to be more forgiving and overbearing to the less than wonderful parts of me.

  28. Mabel says:

    I Just wanna put my hand up, if it’s not to late, and say that I too am in the “Syd does love Mo” camp. Maybe I’m a mug, but to me, infidelity is not the worst thing that can happen in a relationship. Some people cheat, both emotionally and physically, but it doesn’t mean that the other person is automatically getting a raw deal. Like someone else pointed out earlier Mo does get a lot from their relationship.

  29. bean says:

    i posted this on yesterday’s comments. now i’m posting it again here.

    “ok, i don’t _actually_ think sydney is pregnant. i was kidding. i think alison was too.”

  30. bean says:

    …and actually, i just wrote it to be snarky, because i thought it was kinda weird that someone (a man, i think?) would bother oggling a cartoon woman’s physique and commenting upon it. yes, as so many pointed out, age happens. also, pregnancy happens, also fat happens. deal with it. i’m not sure alison even intended to draw sydney differently, or if that’s just the nature of the medium. i do wonder, however, that even a cartoon lesbian with a Ph.D can’t seem to escape male scrutiny of her body. but, maybe sydney would appreciate it, and i’m just not down enough with the pomo revolution.

  31. Kat (not the same one as above) says:

    Okay, I’m really annoyed with whoever said that Sydney was “thick around the middle.”
    Come on. That’s not thick, or fat, at all…..

  32. Ed says:

    I’ll always love the strip, even during its down moments. Just check out the regular funny pages in any newspaper and DTWOF is such a relief. “Funky Winkerbean” serves as a heavy-handed PSA nowadays, and Margo, LuAnn and Tommie are STILL sharing that Apartment 3-G. At least Ginger’s finally moving out and I’d love to see the fallout from that.

    The only story that seems to be hitting a brick wall is Lois’s, which I’m fine with as it’s not as interesting to me. Lois, once the most vibrant character IMO, seems to function as a bystander in the story of Jonas. I miss Lois and Mo’s closeness, though I like seeing Mo talking with Clarice. And I’m very concerned about Raffi because having these women arguing all the time is not good for him.

    I sometimes worry about the characters who we don’t see, then realize they aren’t actors, waiting for their call. (Oh my god, how are Harriet and Jezanna able to live? They haven’t been featured. And don’t get me started on Naomi.) That’s partly from my youth watching soaps but a testament to how real they have become.

  33. DeLandDeLakes says:

    In regards to the folks who thought Sidney was pregnant- sheesh, Josiah, and you’re scolding ME for not reading closely! 🙂 Seriously,I guess it is hard to convey sarcasm in cyberspace. At least without the use of emoticons.

  34. anonymous says:

    I concur with all the people pointing out the aburdity of the beauty myth standards to a cartoon character’s weight in the first place, or that many males seem to be unclear on the realities of age and weight gain – but am I the only one that thinks that Sydney looked downright SKINNY in that picture to begin with?? I am completely mystified by any standard that could call that physique “thick” – aging and pregnancy aside.

  35. Sir Real says:

    anonymous – I concur bout sydney – her belly is indecently flat! 😉

    Per martial arts and self defence – Well, I’ve heard several opinions that most diciplines won’t do you much good in an actual assault situation.

    For thoroughly practical training, my Main Squeeze turned me on to Model Mugging – also called Impact or Prepare.
    I took a NYC course and would indeed recommend it – that sweetie took a Boston course and recommend that program.

    http://www.prepareinc.com/

    The `urban legend’, as I understand it, is that this self-defense mode started in the 70’s after a woman with a black belt (in some martial art) was assaulted, but found herself frozen and unable to use her extensive knowledge. Is that the exact story? I dunno.

    In any case, I would sum up this program as
    a) how to de-escalate a situation and avoid violence using words, tone and body posture
    b) if you have to fight, how to disable and get out as quickly as possible
    c) for female people, how to use the strength advantages you have, and avoiding fighting on upper-body-strength terms
    d) learning moves that work with a wide variety of sizes, strengths and fitness levels.
    d) giving all a chance to practice full-out force on a highly trained, highly padded man instructor

    [Per the last two – while I’m like-way-anti-essentialist 🙂 I recognize that we’re living in very gender-typed world and all are trained to fear male-appearing-people the most. So practicing on a male-man does, I feel, make alot of sense.]

    I found it really incredible to take this course and see some classmates, some of whom survivors of violence, learn these things… one or two didn’t fully get it, but still, almost all did – women who could scarcely bear to raise their voices or barely tap a target were, by the end, hollering and waleing in highly effective ways! *teary grin!*

  36. Aunt Soozie says:

    Oh, I totally, 100%, think that was a joke. a tease.
    for sure. Sydney’s not preggers. Unless Madeline…

    D.F.,
    I can’t see Lois and Sydney together either. That would be a complete nightmare.

    In re: commenting on a cartoon characters appearance. I confessed to Dr E and Roz W. (while we were waiting for Alison to sign our books) that I was devastated when I realized that Speed Racer was only a drawing!

    Not that I had any heteroerotic feelings, even as a child…Speed was clearly a drag king. Note his petite stature, the soft feminine features, the melodic soprano voice, the heavily stylized drawn on side burns and goatee, oh, wait, that may have been his racing helmet. I simply adored him.

  37. Aunt Soozie says:

    and DF said I’m a stud!

  38. Mother of Two Siamese Cats says:

    Pregnant? AB? Alison has sketched characters in DTWOF who are overweight, pregnant, disabled and even ailing and she doesn’t seem to be any of those things. I’m sure she has friends that also inspire the characters she creates.

  39. Fräulein says:

    I would love it if AB would tease a bit on the Sydney front. Let’s have a case of mysterious vapours, please, a general malaise, a suddenly-too-tight pair of jeans. We’d be all a-twitter.

    Number 511 has a deliciousness that is quite energizing.

  40. Olivier says:

    Sir Real, “for female people”??? Either the English language has changed a lot recently or this is one weird expression. Although I must say I don’t like it overmuch either when some of the women readers call us “males”… It always reminds me of the toilet situation in some grand old victorian pile in London (a court building but I don’t remember which one): reportedly toilets for the judges and other distinguished folks were labeled ladies/gentlemen, those in the visitor circuit men/women and finally those in the prisoner/police circuit male/female. No comments.

    Seems to me like some people either are trying too hard to be PC or, on the contrary, have a chip on their shoulder. I wish we could abstain from weird and offensive denominations alike and just speak of men and women.

  41. Aunt Soozie says:

    Mother of Two Siamese Kitty-cats,
    Thanks for the reality check…
    not…
    sigh.
    So maybe I didn’t knock Alison up but a soft-butch-femme-switch-stud-female-person can dream can’t she? (apologies to Olivier but I want to be perfectly clear here.) More importantly…did you ever find Speed Racer attractive?

  42. Aunt Soozie says:

    Truly, I think Alison modeled Lois after him.

  43. Vivid Lady says:

    Re: Sydney’s possible pregnancy, I’m wondering whether her having had chemotherapy & radiation in the not so distant past would make it difficult or impossible to carry the child safely to term. Some time ago I saw a story in a magazine where a young man (16, maybe) was diagnosed with cancer but wanted to have a child later in life. His doctor told him to go to a sperm bank, do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars, because the chemo treatment would make him infertile and/or cause birth defects. There is a very real possibility that Sydney could have an at-risk baby or even miscarry.

  44. Vivid Lady says:

    Would anyone be interested in having a DTWOF chat room via IRC (Internet Relay Chat) every once in a while?

  45. Ellen O. says:

    Hmm, I kinda like the term “female people.” A reminder that women are people, which much of the world tends to forget. If this feels like a “chip on my shoulder,” consider the Senate.

    Sir Real– your description of Model Mugging seemed spot-on to me. I took it 15 years ago and still remember that my best defense weapon is between my ears.

  46. Kate Lambert says:

    This is a reply to something Alison said long ago, about people in places like Nebraska complaining that DTWOF doesn’t represent the reality of being lesbian in a place like, well, Nebraska. From here in Kansas, I read DTWOF the same way people in the 60’s watched the original Star Trek, with its depiction of a society where race hatred and segregation were things that belonged to a distant past. Forty years ago, Star Trek gave progressives an image of a better society, and I think for us, DTWOF does the same thing today. Oh, and I like Mo’s unshakable Vulcan logic.

  47. JesterJen says:

    Pregnant? Has AB ever revealed a spoiler on the blog before? I think surely she jests.

  48. Jana C.H. says:

    I can’t believe anyone’s taking AB’s pregnancy comment seriously.

    Jana C.H.
    Seattle
    Saith E.G. Forbes: Never spoil a good story with too much truth.

  49. Deb says:

    Alison, I just wanted to say thanks. Thanks for the strip and the blog and everything! So……….thanks!

  50. Suzanonymous says:

    Ditto what Deb said.. Thank you! 🙂

  51. LondonBoy says:

    Wouldn’t it be funny if Mo was a dedicated reader of, and contributor to the website of, “Lesbians to Look Out For” by Lisa Belchnode… And then Sydney could do a paper on “liminality in virtual communities”… ( which I suppose would be the lurking stage… )

  52. a reader says:

    On the somewhat wandering topic of women and self defense has anyone else read the most recent novel by Nicola Griffith “Always’? It contains an interesting examination of this topic.
    It is also a good read 🙂

  53. BamfChyck says:

    Vivid Lady–
    I think a chat room would be fun!

  54. Maggie Jochild says:

    What will indicate real progress to me is when I see one of the guys on This Old House (Roger, maybe) wearing a Utilikilt. I mean, this ad of theirs seems completely persuasive to me, complete with the correct spelling of ballpein.
    http://www.utilikilts.com/?page_id=30

  55. BrooklynPhil says:

    Been a DTWOF blog lurker for a few months now, and kinda feel like I must respond to Mother of Two Siamese Cats. I’m impressed with your encyclopedic knowledge/memory of DTWOF and Fun Home, and your honest account of your encounters with gay bashers. I don’t know if you have your own blog yet, but maybe you want to consider it. It seems you have a lot of ideas to share.
    While I find your comparison of characters in Fun Home and DTWOF possessing some merit, I want to caution you to keep your criticism and analysis to the fictional characters in the works. There were moments (in your initial entry of this blog segment) where you seemed to be analyzing Alison Bechdel, the person, and not Alison Bechdel, the character in Fun Home. This may not have been your attention, but I find anyone who tries to psychoanalyze a writer or an artist based on their creative work to be condescending and misinformed, even if the work is autobiographical. And since it is obvious that Alison reads comments on this public blog, anybody who provides such an analysis of an individual is being rude, in my opinion.
    I don’t mean to “flame” you, Mother of Two Siamese Cats (I owned two orange tabbies, and miss them both a lot). I see myself as offering a set of standards for discussion, for us all who are devoted admirers of AB’s work and who like to think about its power and meaning.

  56. BrooklynPhil says:

    CORRECTION TO MY PREVIOUS ENTRY: 7th Sentence should read “This may not have been your intention, ….”

  57. DeLandDeLakes says:

    I concur with Anonymous. If Sydney looks pregnant, then I might as well be carrying an entire litter of kittens.

  58. Fräulein says:

    OMG! DeLandDeLakes is pregnant with kittens!!!

  59. Hariette says:

    Being one of the folks who took offense to the “isn’t Sydney looking thick?” thread, I wish more men would understand how politicized weight is for women now matter how enlightened the man may be. And to comment on a basically thin character gaining weight feels icky.

    As much as I will probably sound like Mo at this point, Mo2SC wrote:
    “Alison has sketched characters in DTWOF who are overweight, pregnant, disabled and even ailing and she doesn’t seem to be any of those things.”

    Slight correction — AB has sketched ONE character who is obviously disabled, Thea. Yes, she did include an ASL interpreter during Mo’s first “Madwimmin Reads” (episode #194) and with the woman in the 2nd panel doing Deaf Applause (and there is the whole discussion within the Deaf community if deafness is a disability or a linguistic minority). However, as a disabled woman I do wonder why disabled characters are only portrayed as wheelchair users? Not all of us use chairs for mobility and my disability is so obvious that I’m sure people notice it (and comment on it) even before they notice I’m a woman. This is not a slam on Alison as I love the diversity she has in the DTWOF world. I just wanted to point out that one character does not make a full community.

  60. barbara uk says:

    it would be brilliant if sydney was pregnant – she would actually be a great mother and mo would be a brilliant (if neurotic) parent too. I wouldn’t put it past Sydney to sleep with the odd bloke when she is away but maybe I am misjudging her,

  61. Butch Fatale says:

    Olivier

    Though I can’t possibly speak with certainty about what Sir Real meant, I read “female people” as meaning not just women, but people who are female-assigned at birth. A nod to biology and socialization without imputing to them a particular identity (ie “women”). I know that transgender identity has been a topic of conversation on this blog before, I don’t know if you were a part of that or not, but at the risk of plunging us all into another heated debate, I want to point out that respecting people’s identities is actually a good thing. At least for those of us whose identities are often ignored or mocked. I would hope for others, as well.

    Sir Real, if I’ve misconstrued your post, please feel free to correct me.

  62. kate mckinnon says:

    God, that was a funny comment, that even a lesbian cartoon character with a PhD still has to endure the rude comments of men she has no interest in about her waistline. So true….

    It’s amazing, the way guys feel free to insult chicks on their figure, and to be picking on a fictional character really took it to the level of absurdity. Think of the way he treats the real people in his life.

    Personally I do think Sydney loves Mo. I’m poly, and I love my people and my partners with my whole heart, even if they don’t have my whole fidelity. Some people just have more capacity for love, and more energy for it.

    And I do think that getting inseminated is exactly the kind of thing she would do, possibly without consulting anyone. After all, speaking as someone much like Syd, I can tell you that we live and die by the “easier to get forgiveness than permission” mantra. Getting pregnant is huge, but not out of character.

  63. LondonBoy says:

    Kate,
    Thank you. I’ve just realised that that’s just what my partner does with great regularity ( “easier to get forgiveness than permission” ). And I facilitate it by forgiving him anything. So, given that you’re like Sydney ( and thus like my partner ), what can I/Mo/your partner do to make him/Sydney/you more likely to work co-operatively in such areas as doing the washing up and upblocking the sink ?

  64. kate mckinnon says:

    Hmm. We are not good team players. Better maybe to focus on a compromise that gets the actual job done. For example, asking him to pay for a maid service to do his share of the housework? I’m sure that if he feels that your needs are reasonable (a clean house) but doesn’t want to do the work, he would see that he still needs to contribute positively to the goal of making you happy and not living in squalor. I can only speak for myself, but the way to my heart is humor. Badgering me rarely works, but I’ll do anything for someone who can laugh with me at my naughty ways, and work with me to find a compromise.

    If you don’t like maids in your house and there is something odious he doesn’t mind doing, maybe you’d be willing to do his share of the washing up if he did your share of that.

  65. LondonBoy says:

    Kate,
    Thanks, that makes good sense. In particular, the humour idea is a good one, and ( now that I think about it ) has worked in the past. Thank you.

  66. LondonBoy says:

    Follow-on question: does Mo make Sydney laugh ?

  67. Josiah says:

    Wait a minute — is kate mckinnon here Catherine MacKinnon? That would be impressive.

    I never thought that Sydney looked “thick” in the first place, and I still think Alison was absolutely joking about her being pregnant. Speaking for myself only, I absolutely understand that weight is a serious and sensitive issue, especially when it’s a man talking about a woman. And I’m starting to feel like a few people here on the blog are blaming men as a group for a comment that was solely Grisha’s. I know that the dominance of the male gaze is a problem, and that we men view women as aesthetic objects rather than as people far too often — but please don’t criticize us all for the comments of one. Grisha was speaking for Grisha, not for all men (he said, defensively).

    (I also think that the point about how absurd his comment was has been made — I’m a little worried that we’re all jumping on him now for one ill-considered remark. Yes, it was a stupid thing to say, but I’m not sure it merits every reader of the blog commenting on how stupid it was.)

  68. shadocat says:

    Am I the only person left on this blog who ISN’T poly? Trust me, fidelity can be a beautiful thing; so can honesty. I don’t have to worry about jealousy, or getting my story straight, or hurting my girlfriend, oe exposing her to disease. I tell her I love ‘er all the time…I don’t have to wait ’til I cheat on her, because I like to tell her, and, oh yeah, I don’t cheat on her. I thought truly “poly people” didn’t have to ask for permission OR forgiveness, because their life was just practically perfect in every way…

  69. Scotia says:

    Reality check: What is the likelihood of someone in her mid forties who’s recently been through chemo and radiation treatments being able to get pregnant, even with all possible high-tech intervention?

  70. Jana C.H. says:

    Shado, I’m certainly not polyamorous. My rule has always been that I don’t cheat and I don’t help other people cheat. It’s entirely a personal rule, and no one else is required to follow it, unless, of course, it’s someone who hopes to have a relationship with me.

    The rule of monogamy doesn’t have to apply to gay people except for emotional reasons. The real reason for monogamy has to do with property and offspring. The rule is: I support your children and you support my children because my children ARE your children. That’s biological children, because in evolutionary terms that’s all your DNA cares about. A straight couple forms a household in which their joint resources go to support their joint children in the hope that the DNA of each parent will be perpetuated into future generations, thus providing them with immortality. Any resources spent on children that don’t carry one’s own DNA are, in purely evolutionary terms, wasted.

    As human beings, straight and gay, we have complex brains that allow us to override out genetic compulsions and love stepchildren, adopted children, and partners who provide us with no children at all, but the genetics are still there. That’s why people go to fertility clinics and knock themselves to pieces to have their “own” children.

    I have no children, never intended to have children (I have a serious genetic defect that decided never to pass on), and am no longer capable of having children, but I remain monogamous (though single) because I find it emotionally satisfying. So there!

    Jana C.H.
    Seattle
    Saith WSG: “Two husbands have managed to acquire three wives. Three wives, two husbands– that’s two-thirds of a husband to each wife.” “Oh, Mount Vesuvius, here we are in arithmetic! My good sir, one can’t marry a vulgar fraction!”

  71. Josiah says:

    No, Shadocat, you’re not the only monogamous one here. I’m monogamous and happy — though I try not to judge people for whom it doesn’t come as easy as it comes for me. I’m perfectly willing to believe that there are people who can make polyamory work (although I’ve never met any of them in real life), but it seems to me like you have to go through some pretty impressive mental gymnastics to get to that point. Frankly I don’t know where they get the energy.

  72. Josiah says:

    Captain Spaulding (To Mrs. Rittenhouse and Mrs. Whitehead): Well, what do you say, girls? What do you say? Are we all gonna get married?
    Mrs. Rittenhouse: All of us?
    Captain Spaulding: All of us!
    Mrs. Rittenhouse: But that’s bigamy!
    Captain Spaulding: Yes, and that’s big-a-me, too…It’s big of all of us. Let’s be big for a change. I’m sick of these conventional marriages! One woman and one man was good enough for your grandmother, but who wants to marry your grandmother? Nobody, not even your grandfather. Think, think of the honeymoon, strictly private. I wouldn’t let another woman in on this. Well, maybe one or two but no men. I may not go myself.

  73. shadocat says:

    Josiah, you sly dog…you know I have a thing for Groucho…

  74. Alex K says:

    @Vivid Lady: Fertility after chemotherapy / radiation therapy – it all depends. Some cancers roll over, toes up and (cartoon) eyes crossed, after a whiff of something that the germ cells, the ones that go on to make sperm in men and ova in women, never even notice. Some cancers only give ground grudgingly, and the ground that they grudgingly give is scorched and barren.

    No reason to suspect that usual radiation portals for a breast primary would affect genital-tract structures; so far as I know, ionising radiation does its damage in the tissues that it hits, and not half a metre away from the upper thorax.

    Sydney may be distressingly, accidentally fertile. Does she go swimming in a mixed-gender pool?

  75. Aunt Soozie says:

    I know someone else mentioned it already but I recommend the book The Ethical Slut if you have questions about relationship beyond monogamy.

    Having sex with someone other than your primary partner may be in line with agreed/explicit parameters of a relationship and is therefore not “cheating”. Though, even in a non-monogamous relationship one could be dishonest or could “cheat”. Many folks in open relationships have agreements about discussion prior to action so I guess you could call that asking permission.

    Shado, fret not. I believe you remain firmly in the majority of the minority. A good percentage of folks in relationships actually are non-monogamous but they’re in the closet about it (ie, they “cheat” and lie). There aren’t many who are willing to give it a go in the open air which might be less complex a practice than sneaking around, could be more efficient in terms of disease prevention/safer sex and is certainly more respectful of your primary partner.

  76. Aunt Soozie says:

    Oops…I didn’t mean to imply that Shado was in that group of folks who cheat! I just meant I believe she is in the majority of lesbians, the minority, who are NOT polyamorous!

  77. Sir Real says:

    shadocat, I hope to avoid sounding angry – but I feel you haven’t been reading closely when polyamory is described. I feel like I’ve been posting alot and hogging the conversation, so I won’t respond specifically, but ask that you re-read, particularly the words of those who state they are living/loving in poly ways. Or maybe I’ll come back point-by-point to your statement 🙂

    Olivier – I don’t know if you’re trying to bait me? I’ll just say for now that I certainly _hope_ that the English language has changed, and will change more. The changes may seem odd to you, but I hope you’ll investigate, learn more about transgender and other non-conforming gender identities, and strive to honor other people’s self-definitions.

    Olivier, You may find yourself comfortable on the Prepare Inc. website – they also seem to see the world as men and women, and to conflate those terms with male and female. That’s one of my reservations about the programs.

    I know that at least one course for transmen and/or masculine-spectrum transpeople was held in the Boston area,
    but I don’t know the content.

    A reason why distinctions may matter in this instance, and why transmen may be not ideally served by a Prepare/Impact course designed for men… One technique that was stressed in the nominally 😉 women’s course that I took was using the lower-body, thigh strength that’s inherent to a typical female frame. Trans men may acquire some more upper body strength if they’ve been on T for a while, but generally, have the wider hips and powerful gams of the female body they grew up in. Vice versa, transwomen generally wouldn’t… the basic skeletal structure doesn’t change if hormones are altered after puberty.

    Plus much of the coaching about defusing a situation is based on how you’re percieved by a prospective assailant… Plus I’d like gender variance acknowledged and respected everywhere… plus gender non-conforming folks are among the most threatened and assaulted groups and could particularly benefit from this knowledge… Sigh. Perhaps I’ll get the gumption/energy to prompt more trans-specific classes than the few I know of, in this program.

  78. Kelli says:

    Geez, and to think that all of this could have been avoided if only Sydney’d had the foresight to wear a pair of knickers that fit properly instead of cutting into her a bit because they’d been through the wash once or twice too often. 😛

  79. bean says:

    josia: you do sound defensive. grisha’s comment happened in a CONTEXT, not out of the blue. the context is male supremacy. (hurray for men who aren’t jerks, ok? everybody happy? but grisha said what he said.) nevertheless, i agree that it’s not the end of the universe. it’s just something i commented back on in my usual snarky way, never suspecting that anyone would think i was serious about sydney being pregnant. i’ll say it again: no, sydney is not pregnant. it was a joke. it was meant to be as ridiculous and stupid a comment as the comment(grisha’s) that inspired it.

    not that it matters at all, but i thought syd looked exactly the same as she always does, making this whole conversation seem even more absurd. i thought she looked thin. not fat. not old. not disabled. not pregnant. just thin.

    shado: if anyone were interested in my snarky self, i would be monogamous. polyamory is a nice idea, but i’ve never actually known it to work. people get hurt, and in het relationships it’s mostly women people. actually, for that matter, i’ve rarely known monogamy to work either.

    so, let’s say that in the unlikely event that more than one person should fall for me at a time, then maybe i’d reconsider. until then, it’s monogamy for me. i mean, it would be, if i could get a date.

  80. Mexico Gil says:

    I´m surprised Sydney is pregnant. It seems only yesterday she was dumping her girlfriend right after she got diagnosed with MS.

  81. Andrew B says:

    The drawing has improved noticeably lately. For a while it was getting kind of, pardon me, sketchy. The drawing of Mo in the first panel of 511 was the best in a long time. She was so tense, my screen was vibrating. It’s interesting because the drawings themselves are getting smoother, as they used to be, but the characters are still looking older and somewhat the worse for wear.

    Alison, I have to ask: do you have plans for another DTWOF collection in the near future? As Josiah said, looking at the calendar, it’s about that time. I have no idea if your schedule will allow for drawing a new supplemental story but I sure hope so. I want to know what goes on in CIA training. I hope the little Cynner hasn’t vanished forever. She could be a royal pain in the ass but she was oh so interesting.

  82. van says:

    I hope the little Cynner hasn’t vanished forever.
    Yeah, I actually like that character a lot.

    Hm, I didn’t even find Syd fat-looking, then again, I don’t find Mo skinny either. Perspective really is a funny thing. I do notice Mo must go through tons of hair product to get those bangs in a perpetual arc.

  83. Ellen O. says:

    Andrew B–

    Perhaps you are comparing the new strips against the vintage strips? That’s why you might be seeing a sketchier drawing style. Check the numbers of the strips.

  84. Deena in OR says:

    One wonders what Alison must be making of all the speculation over Sydney’s “pregnancy”. I have my own opinions about her potential to be a good parent. Depends on what qualities you believe make up “good”, I guess.

  85. Alex the Bold says:

    And Raffi’s birthday is coming up: Aug. 18 if I read the minutiae of the strips correctly!

    Happy 14th, Raffi.

  86. Andrew B says:

    Ellen O: No. I’m comparing the most recent strips to those of a year or two ago, when Alison was finishing Fun Home and touring. The lines seem smoother and more relaxed and there’s more detail.

    The strips from 1987, when Alison didn’t have the skills she has now, are something else again. They are often crude, but check out the drawing of Lois when she says “How about me?”, in the archive strip where Mo is complaining about how she can’t get a girlfriend. That panel is anything but crude.

  87. jk says:

    I thought sidney looked way hot, she has a great @ss. Thought all the nudity was really sexy, especially because it’s all these women who are comfortable with their bodies and sexuality, and their partners are too. Wish we were always surrounded with examples of this as the norm. thick THAT!

  88. Deena in OR says:

    I meant Sydney’s potential, of COURSE! Just reread my previous post and realized it could be read as being about Alison. Not, not, not.

  89. Alex the Bold says:

    If Sydney’s getting larger, it must be from all the evil festering within her …

  90. The Cat Pimp says:

    Sydney cannot get pregnant after the chemotherapy and hot flashes she was having. Hot flashes are a sign that the Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) levels are peaking at many times the normal level as the pituitary fruitlessly attempts to ping the ovaries into action. Chemo often kills the ovaries. It kills fast growing cells and the ovaries only get one set at birth.

    Of course, the word, “pregnant” can mean many things other than expecting a baby.

  91. Butch Fatale says:

    Shado- we’re not all scurrilous wretches! I myself am quite fond of fidelity, but that’s not the same as monogamy. Furthermore, I’m amazed that you don’t have to worry about jealousy — my monogamous relationships certainly haven’t been free of that emotion (and yes, we were actually monogamous).

    As several people have pointed out, poly relationships are all different (much like monogamous ones) and people make agreements with their partners based on what they’re comfortable with. Sometimes people get pressured to agree to things they don’t want to do (like monogamy) and sometimes people break up (like monogamy).

    Polyamory is of course not perfect, being as it’s practiced by people. There are plenty of people who were avid about marriage and are now divorced, but I don’t know that this fact alone is reason to chuck the entire thing (of course, there are other reasons that are more valid).

    Maybe it’s where I live, but although I know many queer people who are avowedly anti-monogamy (at least for themselves), I know more who are not.

  92. kate mckinnon says:

    Butch F., you are after my own heart. I am one of the most loyal people I know, and my ideas about fidelity aren’t affected in the least by having two people in my life that I make love to.

    By nature any kind of love relationship is imperfect, and I’m sorry to say that most people I know are unfulfilled or unhappy at some deep level. I am the happiest person I know, I’m full of love and I can’t imagine any one person being able to handle the whole of me, much less imagine myself committing to loving only one gender for the rest of time. I love a boy and a girl, and I’d be happy to be faithful to them, and monogamous with them, for the rest of my life. What does that make me? Who cares? I could care less what box I fit into or don’t. I don’t have any preconceived ideas about love, gender, sex, or body parts.

    I think that the fact that most people are unhappy speaks for itself. The high divorce rate is really sad. Saying that poly people are wrong is just as shortsighted as straight people saying that hetero marriages are the only good or true ones.

    I congratulate anyone who successfully navigates matters of the heart, respects their partner(s), keeps clean and safe, has a hot sex life, and is open and honest about their heart’s desires. Judging people for who they love is never a good plan. And expecting people to be just like we and judging them by our own limitations or preconceptions is… bound to fail.

  93. LM says:

    To: Kate McKinnon

    With absolutely no offense ment to other posters, whose opinions I regularly enjoy perusing, I must say that a post such as yours, literate, tolerant, and sensable from first word to last, needs a little unsolicited praise.

  94. shadocat says:

    Sir Real–I beg to differ; I have been reading the posts very closely. I felt that an awful lot of non-monogamous people were posting, extolling the virtues of polyamory. I felt the need to stand up for monogamy, and see if anyone else out there still thought monogamy can be a wonderful thing.

    To Butch Fatale–Hon, I don’t think you’re any kind of wretch at all! I’ve been reading your posts for a long time, and you always read as informative, hip and frequently funny.

    If I may, part of the reason this whole subject frustrates me so is that I’ve known several people like Sydney over the years—what they want to do is just screw around, and they want to keep their partners too, so they announce, “I’m non-monogomous baby! Take me that way or leave me.” Then the other partner often doesn’t want to abandon the relationship, so they go along with it, even though they’re going through hell. And no, this hasn’t happened to me, but if you want to read a good account of a relationship like that, read Melissa Etheridge’s biography.

    I know my relationship is far from perfect, so please don’t think I’m saying it is. And I’ve heard that there really are “legitimate” polyamorist out their who respect all the rules; I’ve just never seen any. But then I’ve never seen Bigfoot either, and my neighbors swear he exists….

  95. Josiah says:

    Well said, Shadocat. With no offence to any individual polyamorists intended, the phenomenon you point to is a very real one. Cue Maureen from RENT:

    Take me for what I am!
    Who I was meant to be.
    And if you give a damn,
    Take me baby,
    Or leave me!

    I’m also reminded of Katherine Hepburn’s last role, in the otherwise flawed Warren Beatty/Annette Bening remake of Love Affair: she tells Bening’s character that there are swans, which are “unremittingly monogamous” and ducks, which are “promiscuous, and terribly indiscreet”. The key is to find out which you are, and be that. I don’t condemn people for being ducks. But I do think it’s problematic when a duck tries to be a swan, or vice versa. Mo seems like a swan to me; Sydney is clearly a duck. I don’t know for certain, but I don’t think that a duck and a swan can be happy together in the long run.

  96. Maggie Jochild says:

    Shado, you go too far when you cast doubt on the existence of Sasquatch. Sasquatchphobia is the reason why they fear showing themselves in public. They may be 8 feet tall, covered head to toe in coarse hair (they say Fie! to your grooming obsession, Liza!) and smell like an NFL laundry basket, but they have a right to attend a taping of the Rachael Ray show, too, just like the rest of us.

    As for monogamy — I like the quote from Holly Near, that “Nonmonogamy is a post-revolutionary concept in a pre-revolutionary culture”. I personally choose to expend my creative energy somewhere other than juggling intimacies, although in my 20s and early 30s, it seemed endlessly interesting.

    Someone who will lie about sex or intimacy will like about anything, so however you set up your connections, honesty is the key. Which Sydney isn’t capable of, because first and foremost she lies to herself. I have, at times, empathy for her but wouldn’t get close to her, even as a friend, until she goes into recovery from her belief in objectifying others as a means of human commerce. However, if she did try to impose her values on a child (and yes, of course, the pregnancy line was a JOKE), I’d call the authorities: She is, by definition, abusive.

    Jana, you’re right about the economic basis of marriage. Which is why it’s codified in our legal system. And Spudulike, you’re right that it has also become about emotional security. Thirdly, it is (for some people) also about a connection to spiritual purpose. It serves three masters very badly indeed, which is why I’m all for disentangling these threads, setting up civil unions for ANYONE who wants the legal, contractual aspects (straight or gay — which will mean, as a contract, it will have to not discriminate on the basis of gender) and allowing all other meanings to be devised by non-governmental institutions as they see fit — without governmental intrusion OR backing.

  97. kate mckinnon says:

    Thanks LM.

    What I hear in a lot of people’s postings are fear, suspicion, absolute certainty, or monogamous thoughts from people who don’t have lovers, but wish that they did. If we could isolate all of the happy people with successful long term relationships that involve laughter, love, trust, and continued hot sex, and then ask THEM about their theories on love it might be a somewhat smaller sampling…

    I don’t have many pre-formed ideas about how I’d react if my lover did “X.”
    To really work with real people in real relationships, just about everything has got to be case by case, and of course each person’s motives and motivations are unique. I wouldn’t be involved with someone whose integrity or basic goodness I questioned. Working through problems with someone you trust, and someone you know truly loves you, is really different than trying to make a “cheating jerk” stay faithful to you.

    I think that so few people feel that they HAVE the opportunity to live a truly free (and honest) life that they tend to embrace and enforce the status quo as a way of tamping down the people who do.

    Ask twenty people you know what they might do if they were really truly free. It will make you sad, how different their vision of freedom is than their actual life.

    Also, ask yourself and those people to put themselves back into their ten year old selves, and have that ten year old look at them today. Would that kid be sad, disappointed, or over the moon excited and charged up by what they saw?

    Me, I see a lot of unfulfillment and a lot of frustrated hopes and dreams.
    I don’t know why people box themselves in so tightly and give up on their dreams of freedom. Most people only have flying dreams when they are kids, did you know that?

  98. Sir Real says:

    Shadocat – my confusion about your reading depth and/or comprehension was raised from your second question on…
    “Trust me, fidelity can be a beautiful thing; so can honesty.”

    From what I can see, the polyamory fans who have posted have stressed honesty as nessesary. And also have challenged the idea that fidelity = only having sex with one person. Butch Fatale said it very eloquently, above. Other points have also been well covered, thank you.

    General note – I know that Sydney proposed polyamory, but recall that she then changed her mind – she and Mo were not actually attempting it, unless they discussed the matter `off-strip’, which I doubt, considering it’s a major theme. There was an episode comparing monagamy with the deceptive simplicity of a hyperpremium vanilla ice cream… at the same time, Clarice and Toni were contemplating consentual non-monogamy, but they didn’t act on it either.

    So please, folks, don’t confuse Sydney’s actions with polyamory – not even poorly exercised polyamory. :/

    As to your frustration with people who want to keep partners yet still get other action, and say `I’m nonmonogamous – take me or leave me’. Well, I’m very frustrated with the opposite – which happens every day and which is totally condoned by societies at large – wherein someone says “I’m monogamous, take me or leave me, and you have to be too, if you want to stick around.”

    I’m afraid something like that’s happened thrice with me – folks with whom I was totally up front with, who agreed fully going in, but sooner or later discovered they needed monogamy. There was a lot of work on our parts to find workable solutions, and pain and sorrow connected with all this, and I’m not disparaging those particular people, former Sweeties of mine. Sure I’m bitter, but rationally I know that they eventually just found it wasn’t tenable, though they had wanted it to work. It was simply a deal breaker between us.

    However, if those former Sweeties had _wanted_ to excoriate me for this, the entire weight of law and custom would’ve been on their sides – honest, open and considerate though I endeavored to be. That’s part of what really smokes my pudding. Bah.

  99. LM says:

    K McK
    After decades of amiable bickering, when faced with the “death do us part” process, I basked in my loving partner’s wry but heartfelt observation that it was “a good thing we spent all that money we didn’t have to do all those neat things.” In truth, I don’t think “certainty” was even in our emotional lexicon. Trying to keep the day-to-day (second-to-second) conections going that make a good life together takes a little more nimbleness and improvisation than rule-bound pronouncements would seem to allow. Also, honesty can be a bit overated when you are eyeball to eyeball with real stuff.

  100. Sarah says:

    This polyamory, I believe, is a construct for those who want to have their cake and eat it.

    By the way, I am not a troll.

  101. Josiah says:

    Kate, I’m not sure whether you were referring to me in your characterizations of “a lot of posts”, but for the record, I would describe myself as a “happy person with a successful long term relationship that involves laughter, love, trust, and continued hot sex.” Not only is that long term relationship is a monogamous one — every relationship I’ve known which fits that description is a monogamous one. I don’t doubt that there are polyamorous relationships which also fit that description — it’s just that I’ve never known anyone in real life who has one, so it’s hard for me to imagine it. I have, however, known people who entered into monogamous relationships, cheated on their significant other, and then tried to cover up their dishonesty and betrayal by saying “this is just how I am.” I’ve also known relationships which have been destroyed by one partner pressuring the other to “open the relationship up” when the other really didn’t want that.

    My skepticism is based on the experiences of my friends and acquaintances, not blind prejudice. If you’ve made polyamory work for you, that’s great. I just think — based on my experience — that, for whatever reason, the number of people who can do that seems to be slim. (Hence Sir Real’s frustration, even with open-minded partners who honestly tried to comply with hir desires.)

    It’s true that there are lots of people who try monogamy and fail. But I also know lots of people who’ve tried monogamy and made it work.
    I know people who’ve tried polyamory and it hasn’t worked. I don’t know anyone in real life who’s tried polyamory and made it work, and that makes it hard for me to understand why someone would choose that option.

  102. So UN-pc says:

    I think many of us don’t *know* poly-a people because it is not talked about as much as it could or should be. Norms are still norms, and “deviant” lifestyles are not often discussed in the mainstream with any kind of objectivity. Now, personally, yes, I agree that it is not for me. Is that because I was raised on a healthy diet of Disney brainwashing? Perhaps. I also don’t know any “real-life” poly-a people (happy or otherwise).

    However, I *can* see the inherrent logic in finding complete romantic fulfillment with more than one partner. If you think about it, we are raised with the notion of the aforementioned “swan” principle. And, quite honestly, even though I subscribe to it, I can see the illogical nature of finding that *one* person who is the end all and be all in your world.

    Perhaps it is these unrealistic pressures and expectations to *be* the everything tha dooms over fifty percent of our relationships to fail.

    Then again, maybe the concept of poly-a has come about because people are not willing to invest the energy to find that one person who totally completes them.

    Can you tell I’m a Libra? 😉

  103. AnnaH says:

    ditto, So UN-pc

    I like your approach with norms, being out and mono-normativity.
    Try exchanging “lesbian” for “polyamorist” in some of the posts and one cringes at the level of backwardness (this idea was cross posted in the strip discussion). Mono-normativity translates to hetero-normativity, of course.

  104. Cate says:

    Very very interesting conversation… I lurk and rarely post here, but so much stuff. The thing that strikes me about this conversation is that most people are describing a strong impulse to find the right balance of love and intimacy and commitment that works for THEM… and reflecting that the trick is to find a partner/partners who is/are able to fit into the approach that works for you.

    I’ve been in poly relationships, and I’ve been in loosely defined non-mono-but-rarely-acted upon relationships, and I’ve been in mono-defined relationships… and the key, for me, is that the relationship itself needs to be alive and adaptive to how you as a pair/bigger set are currently experiencing the world and yourselves.

    I don’t believe that there is “one person who totally completes” us — but for a lot of people, there is “one person with whom I can be more of who I want to be than in any other set up.” And for some people, that doesn’t seem to really exist… and if you have the willingness/desire to live in the frequently heightened zone that poly relationships require — the intensity of connection, the intensity of potential disconnection — it can be heady… AND it can be painful. They go hand in hand. But being on the same page is very tricky, in my observation. The people who always do it with grace are pretty unusual in my experience, but they DO exist.

    As for Syd and Mo, this is a different thing than polyamory. I see both of their connections to other people as being questions to themselves and each other about whether they are being as fully who they can be in their relationship…talking to each other about what that means could take the relationship in a different direction than letting each other’s external flings form hard nubs of distance from each other. I have a soft spot for Sydney… and I also think it would be incredibly hard to be her partner.

  105. Alex the Bold says:

    Sir Real’s comment on attempts at polyamory in the strip by the various couples …

    Without setting off a torches-and-hayforks moment, would it be unreasonable to say that for most people attempts at polyamory are really just toe-in-the-water explorations of getting out of a one-to-one relationship that has either lost its thrill or is heading toward a complete breakdown?

    Compare the inner monologues

    One: “God, I’ll stay with you just to prevent the hysterics when we break up, even though I don’t want to be with you anymore.”

    Two: “If I could just get into a three-way relationship, maybe I can then withdraw bit by bit and they’ll give me their blessing when I finally drop off the branch like the withered husk of a leaf I’ve become.”

  106. Sir Real says:

    Per all the people who haven’t seen a poly relationship that works… well, that is I believe, partly because of quantity. There just aren’t as many, that are known to others, to judge by. Also, people – especially those who favor monogamy themselves – tend to assume that happy-appearing pairs are monogamous, in my observation.

    Another is the `clustering’ effect. Monogamous people tend to hang out with monogamous people – and even if there are friends who are consentually non-monagamous, those couples tend to keep it on the QT. And, polyamorous people, while having monotonous friends (yes, I stole that joke from Lois), are more likely to know more poly folks, and thus to see a greater quantity of decent relationships – thus we’re more likely to `believe’ that they exist, and from observation, not just from personal leanings and hopes.

    To answer Alex the Bold – yeah, unfortunately people do sometimes seem to use `opening it up’ cynically, as a step towards breaking up.. at least, a person I recently encountered mentioned that this was her brother’s strategy. Others are honestly trying to find a way to stay with someone they love.

    A member of a long-term and mostly-content poly couple I know made an observation that I find wise – it works best when all people enter the situation aware that they prefer consentual non-monogamy. (I would guess the same principle applies with monogamy)

    Which is another reason why monogamously-inclined people may not know of successful poly relationships… as with Josiah’s examples, the ones they see are when a couple starts out monogamous and then one person encounters radical discomfort with that.

    This unhappiness may result in cheating and an attempt to backtrack and get an agreement to this newly-realized need -which may be sincere or selfish, or more likely, a complex brew of motives. Or in a cynical or selfish attempt to force acquiesence to open it up, or – as I think happens more often than is credited – an honest search for a way to retain a valued relationship without doing the equivelent of cutting off a limb.

    Whatever the scenario, I agree that `opening up’ an intially monogamous relationship is not that likely. More experienced poly-a’s are more likely to work it happily, methinks – and again, they – we – are more likely to socialize with like-minded people.

    Per Sarah remarking on having cake and eating it too… what else is it for! 😀

  107. Kelli says:

    For me, it’s a matter of having reasonable expectations of my fellow human beings.

    The monogamist strays; the polyamorist develops a favorite. Neither one holds perfectly to the ideal. Work it out with your partner before becoming involved in a committed relationship, and even then understand that unreasonable expectations will be dashed, even our expectations for ourselves. Maybe even especially for ourselves. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t keep striving for the ideal, whatever it may be — just that failure to live up to that ideal need not be disastrous.

    I’ve been forced by circumstance and by psychology to be nearly 38 years old and to have never been in a relationship. But here’s what I would expect (again, trying to temper my expectations in view of human fallibility) in a relationship:

    – In casual dating, focus on one partner at a time; this does not mean monogamy necessarily, but it does mean that your attention doesn’t wander when we’re together, and refrain from taking phone calls or text messages from other partners.

    – In the event of an agreement for monogamy, allow recognition of times and situations where infatuation still occurs with someone else, and various levels of pursuing that infatuation also occur.

    In the latter case, I’m going to try to be understanding, open-minded, and forgiving, as long as:

    – It’s me you come home to at the end of the evening. Don’t desert me for days pursuing your latest fling, even if you see that person every day.

    – Don’t bring home any complications. Don’t come home pregnant by someone else; don’t spend our household money on someone else; don’t contract an STD from someone else and infect me with it; etc.

    – TALK TO ME about what’s going on with you and why you feel the impulse to stray. Is it fulfilling some need that is not getting addressed in our relationship, and if so, what need, and is it temporary and taken care of by a brief fling, or is it something we need to really work on? Or is it the sign of the end of the relationship?

    – Above all, BE HONEST. Honest about the fling, when it happens, how long it lasts. Honest about whether or not it’s too much to deal with. Honest about the long-term prospects for our relationship.

    Non-jealous monogamy is what I’m working toward here. That is, as long as it’s not done with the intention to hurt, just take the attitude of “affairs happen.”

    But, of course, being totally inexperienced, it’s probably just as unreasonable for me to expect this as any other arrangement. 😉

  108. Josiah says:

    That’s a very good point, Sir Real — there’s doubtless some selection bias in the data set of my experiences. I suppose that my saying “I don’t know any successful poly relationships in real life” might be equivalent to someone 40 or 50 years ago saying “I don’t know any happy gay or lesbian people”. There’s a good chance that someone who said that back then did know some happy gay or lesbian people — they just didn’t know that they knew them, because they kept that part of their lives quiet (as society expected at the time). When things don’t work out, it’s harder to keep them quiet. When the only visible evidence is evidence of “failure”, that reinforces the prejudicial notion that non-normative relationships are doomed to disaster. I suppose that’s the reason that visibility for happy non-normative relationships is so important.

  109. Aunt Soozie says:

    Sir Real,
    Did you really run into some on the bus and just by chance discover that you both read this blog…?

  110. kate mckinnon says:

    josiah, no, I didn’t mean you specifically. I just meant that it struck me that a significant number of posters who have spoken so harshly against poly working seem to be speaking from a perspective of fear or jealousy, or, oddly enough, they are saying that they have little to no experience in love at all. Or no lover.

    and sir r. is absolutely correct- poly is the new black, the new gay, whatever. we are everyone’s pariahs, even those who ought to know better are prejudiced against us. so we are definitely on the down-low. I don’t doubt that you don’t know any. Or think you don’t know any. You might be surprised, if, as I say, everyone told the truth about who they love and what they do. Most people live an assortment of lies- lies to society, their partners, their family, or themselves. Small or large lies, it hardly matters. People are afraid of their own true hearts.

    I don’t have a three-way anything, I have two separate relationships that don’t really mix. I do know people in long-term three-way marriages, and I know many Mormons who have more than one wife on the QT. It’s not so unusual, really, it’s just that we experience a lot of prejudice, harassment, or closed minds, and so it’s rare that people are brave enough to stand up and say “yes I am.”

    You’d think that other harassed minorities would be more sympathetic, but oddly, they aren’t. Marriage is held up to all of us as the ideal from such a young age that it’s hard to escape the programming.

  111. gatheringwater says:

    Let me get this straight. People who don’t share your perspective on polyamory are:

    * brainwashed at a young age and therefore incompetent to rationally disagree.

    * jealous because they aren’t getting any.

    * lying to themselves.

    * supporting the universal oppression of polys–whose experience of discrimination, by the way, is at least comparable with that historically suffered by African Americans and homosexuals.

  112. kate mckinnon says:

    Ha!
    God no. I’m sorry my comments made you feel that way. That wasn’t my intention.

    I have to laugh. Jeez! I just mean that even other people who’ve been discriminated against have a knee-jerk prejudice against even the possibility of happiness outside of monogamy. It puzzles me…

  113. shadocat says:

    Just because I don’t like polyamory, DOES NOT mean I am predjudiced against those who practice it! GAWD do I have to like EVERYTHING, or else be accused of being a bigot? I have poly friends. I don’t tell them how to run their love lives, and they’d better not tell me how to run mine. As a wonderful gay friend (who, btw is not monogamous) likes to say “I’m out of the closet, but my bedroom door is closed.”

    As far as poly being the new “black”. or new “gay”…sorry but there is no compariosn. If there is , tell me about those polyamous slaves held in bondage for 400 years, or those polyamorists forced into concentration camps in WWII.

  114. Jana C.H. says:

    I say nothing against the possibility of happiness outside of monogamy (for other people, not me. We all have our preferences). I do have doubts about the practicality of it for large numbers of people, considering how difficult it is to make simple serial monogamy work.

    I wish there were solid numbers available. The failure rate for monogamy is about fifty percent. I have a vague emotional impression that the failure rate (the couple or group breaks up) for polyamory is higher than that. I might be wrong, but so far no one seems to have any evidence on the subject. Until people do some proper studies (any sociology grad students out there?) we have nothing to go on but anecdotes, and those are useless for measuring large social trends. They make a social trend vivid and understandable, but do not provide measurement, and do not allow for statements about the trend in general?just about individual cases.

    I fear good quantitative information about polyamory will be a long time in coming. As long as it remains extra-legal, there will be no proper records for comparison, and no way to get a reliably representative sample.

    I love this blog! I can discuss quantitative methods and not worry about anyone jumping on me for being a pointy-headed intellectual. Pinheads of the world, unite!

    Jana C.H.
    Seattle
    Saith Steve Young: You can change my mind at the drop of a fact.

  115. 123Go says:

    Hmmm… while I’m not about to accuse anyone of being a pointy-headed intellectual, I do have my concerns about using large-scale data on social trends to make judgements about the choices or experiences of individuals. Knowing that monogamy has a 50% failure rate doesn’t tell you anything about the chances for happiness of any one particular couple – that depends only on their own desires, needs, and choices. The same is true for polyamory. Even if polyamory had a 90% failure rate, I’m not sure what that would tell you. It could just mean that many people for whom poly was not a good fit ended up trying it. It doesn’t mean that it is an inherently less stable choice, or that it is the right or wrong one for any individual.

  116. Jana C.H. says:

    Never in any of my notes have I said anything against the right of individuals to make their own choices in this matter. Of course statistics tell one nothing about individual choices. I don’t know where you got the idea that I thought otherwise.

    My point from the beginning was that I don’t think that large numbers of people can successfully practice polyamory, at least not in any current society. If the failure rate of polyamory were indeed 90%, that would uphold my opinion: polyamory is not immoral, but it is not practical for most people.

    If people want to try polyamory, let them go ahead, and the blessings of the cosmos upon them! I think, though I have no numbers to back it up, that a lot of them will have a tough row to hoe. Not all of them, but a lot of them. This is, of course, only my opinion, though I don’t see why I should have to say that explicitly. WHO ELSE’S OPINION WOULD IT BE??!!!

    Jana C.H.
    Seattle
    Saith Stan Lee: Sheesh!

  117. gatheringwater says:

    Now that I’ve been sucked back into the topic that will not die…

    Kate: Thanks for clarifying your position. You aren’t “making” me feel anything; I’m just trying to figure out what you are saying and wondering if you really meant some of the more egregious parts of your comments. I think your main point–the experience of discrimination does not necessarily prevent prejudice–is right on and too sadly true. But setting aside for a moment the merits of polyamory, I don’t think you are going to win many allies for your position by questioning other people’s motives or ability to make judgments. We can *both* be against knee-jerking, after all…

    If religiously conservative African Americans are insulted by comparisons between the discrimination their community has experienced and discrimination against homosexuals, I can’t imagine they’d be very happy to hear that “poly is the new black.” Some gays have countered religiously conservative black criticism for this comparison by saying homosexuality is not about choice. “God made me,” they say, “and God doesn’t make trash.” I wonder if polys make a similar argument?

    Do you think your affectional orientation is so basic to your make-up as to be inborn or formed at a very early age? Or do you see polyamory as a choice you are making?

  118. Sir Real says:

    Aunt Soozie – yes! Randomly on a bus! My T-Shirt, for the way fabu Circus Amok, http://www.circusamok.org/
    was noted and we got talking… I won’t disclose the details due to the very remote possibility of reprocussions to this person’s brother.

    Inborn? Chosen? I think, like so many life courses, it’s a combination of both. Or perhaps, like Sparrow’s psychic advisor, we all had extensive harems in previous lives… 😉

  119. 123Go says:

    Yowza… I don’t know what it is about writing on the internet, but it seems to lead to a lot of misunderstandings and flaring feelings. Jana C.H. – I’m guessing by the heavy use of capitals and punctuation that you felt attacked by my response. I apologize – that wasn’t my intention! I was just trying to explore what can and can’t be surmised from broad sociological data. Let’s all take a deep breath!

  120. Jana C.H. says:

    123Go– The capitals were a case of severe annoyance, not anger. And it was directed not only at you, but at all the people down through the years who seem to think that, because I state my opinions clearly and firmly, I am trying to pass off opinion as fact. I also get extremely annoyed at people who don’t read what I actually write, and react emotionally when I try to be cool and logical.

    It is a long-standing peeve of mine which I usually don’t waste my time commenting on, but this time I cut loose and you got the full blast, which you didn’t deserve. My final comments were uncool and unlogical, but I guess I wasn’t wearing my pointy ears that day.

    Anyway, I thought I had been pretty clear about what can and can’t be surmised from broad sociological data. I guess I wasn’t.

    Jana C.H.
    Seattle
    Saith James T. Kirk: I’m only human.

  121. HWHD says:

    The origin of the the expression “_______ is the new black” has nothing to do with race or politics. It alluded to the fact that it was exceptionally fashionable to wear black. When fashion changed to include another colour, it would be proclaimed, “red/blue/pink is the new black”. Hence, the expression “poly is the new black” is not comparing anybody to African Americans or queers or anything, but simply stating that it may be more in fashion. I can’t comment on whether this is true or not, but just to set the record straight. So to speak.

  122. Sir Real says:

    gathering water asked:

    “Do you think your affectional orientation is so basic to your make-up as to be inborn or formed at a very early age? Or do you see polyamory as a choice you are making?”

    Questions of genetics tend to bring up the big, long term picture of humanity. It struck me that this discussion appears to be based in a very specific, narrow, local and recent timeframe wherein monogamy is considered the basic human affectional/partnering unit. Indeed, it appears to be a rather recent and Western notion, and actual sexual exclusivity has only been expected of male persons, in the West, since about 1900 or so.

    I have a vague sense that for much of human history, polygamy has been the norm, or at least as prevalent as monogamy. A brief research yields data from some possibly-dubious data from wikipedia:

    “According to the Ethnographic Atlas Codebook, of the 1231 societies noted [between 1960 and 1980] 186 were monogamous. 453 had occasional polygyny,(multiple wives or concubines/one male) 588 had more frequent polygyny, and 4 had polyandry (multiple husbands/one female).”
    (more detailed stats at the actual Codebook, http://eclectic.ss.uci.edu/~drwhite/worldcul/Codebook4EthnoAtlas.pdf)

    A better question, then, may be – why monogamy as a norm now, and here? As Jana C.H. remarks above, monogamy used to be about property, patrilineage, and descendants. These days, in most Western societies anyhow, most people have the opportunity to financially support themselves, and are thus not nearly as dependant on the economic union of their fortunes with anyone else, as in previous centuries.

    Relationships have become much more about a search for pleasure and fufillment. And most feel able to dissolve them “when the going gets too hairy.” (To quote a George Booth cartoon)

    Perhaps… serial monogamy (as an ideal) for fufillment emerged from the previous incarnation of monogamy-for-economics.

    The emergence of greater numbers of people practicing polyamory among consenting adults is maybe the further development of this trend, towards a search for greater happiness and fufillment in relationships. In another hundred years, maybe… (well we may have the Handmaiden’s Tale. But, uh, hopefully not.)

    Yah, it’s not for everyone. But I would certainly argue with any statement or implied assumption that people are basically monogamous – or even the much more common claim that `women are basically monogamous’. :/

  123. shadocat says:

    HWHD–I suggest you re-read kate mckinnon’ comment, and do it a little more carefully this time.

  124. shadocat says:

    sorry-that’s kate mckinnon’s

  125. Butch Fatale says:

    shadocat — perhaps kate herself will comment as to whether she meant that poly is both the current trendy thing and the current sexual deviance dejour, or whether she was in in fact comparing the discrimination faced by poly folks to the discrimination faced by black/Afro-American folks. I can see her words being read either way.

  126. notpeanut says:

    Where does the “monogamy has a 50% failure rate” come from? I thought 50% of *marriages* end in divorce. If we count all monogamous relationships, the failure rate is much much higher. If we are comparing failure rates of poly and mono relationships, it’s a bit slanted to compare mono marriages with any poly relationship.

    I also think that comparing success rates of particular types of relationships doesn’t give as much information as it seems to because not everybody is trying both types of relationships. Some people are poly (able to love more than one person at a time, not too jealous to allow their partner to do so, etc.) but don’t realize that that’s an actual relationship option. So if the people who *are* poly tried it, and those who weren’t didn’t get roped into it, you might find a higher success rate. It’s pretty hard to compare when one type of relationship is sanctioned by the wider society and the other is not.

    Then of course, there’s the notion of ‘failing’, pretty hard to define in a meaningful way. If a relationship ends, does that means it failed? Are relationships measured by quantity or quality?

  127. Jana C.H. says:

    I was indeed referring to divorces when I spoke of a 50% failure rate. I know it’s not the only way to view failure vs. success, but it is a MEASURABLE way. When doing quantitative analysis you always need something you can measure. It may not be exactly what you want to study, but it stands in for it. If you’re doing the study properly, you never forget that it’s a stand-in. And when you read a statistical analysis you should always be sure about what the researchers are actually measuring and to what extent it describes the subject under study.

    I think it would difficult if not impossible to do a study directly comparing the success rate of monogamy and polyamory. The problem is the lack of a comparable measurement of the success or failure of polyamorous couples. It’s not recorded the way marriages and divorces are. Also, one could only compare with straight married couples because the statistics aren’t there yet for gay marriages and civil unions, nor can one easily count couples who are practicing what we used to call common law marriage.

    At the moment I am not looking at this as broadly as everyone else is. I am purposely focusing on a single matter: the practicality of polyamory. How many people going into polyamorous relationships are going to have to go through an unpleasant break-up? I shouldn’t have to say (but I’d better) that no statistical study can say anything about WHICH relationships will break up.

    If the break-up rate is no worse than 50%, a lot of people will probably stay polyamorous. If it’s 90%, I expect a lot of polyamorists (though not all) will give up on it after a while. This would make polyamory something the majority of polyamorists would usually practice in their relative youth and then quit. I’d better say once again this would not mean everyone would quit, but it would mean polyamorists would remain a fairly small portion of the population. It is difficult, but not impossible, for such minority practices to be fully accepted by the population at large. Someone’s always going to think you’ll burn in hell, and even the accepting ones will think you’re a bit weird.

    Please note that nowhere in this discussion of the practicality of polyamory have I said have I said that polyamorists are bad or evil or immoral or should be locked up in concentration camps where they can’t pollute honest monogamous lesbians.

    Jana C.H.
    Seattle
    Saith JcH: Hooray for weirdness!

  128. Butch Fatale says:

    Jana,

    I would think the rates for polyamorous breakups could be higher because there’s the potential for any given person to have more than one relationship. Furthermore, I would posit that breakups are more likely in less committed relationships. If you’re poly, having a partner is no guarantee that you’ve ceased to date (though of course some poly people do settle down and stop dating at some point). I don’t think that rate would necessarily indicate that it’s harder to stick with a commitment in a polyamorous relationship.

    We’re also taking as an assumption here that the lifelong relationship is the ideal model. While I aspire to it, I don’t know that everyone else does. If not, does the end of a relationship necessarily indicate failure?

    That said, I do enjoy discussions of research methodology. Be still my geeky heart!

    I’m also looking forward to a visit to your fair city this week. I do hope there are many other intelligent out-spoken queers in Seattle.

  129. Jana C.H. says:

    Butch Fatale–

    The points you made in your first paragraph are exactly why I suspect the break-up rate is considerably higher among polyamorists than among monogamists. There’s simply more to go wrong.

    I’m not talking about ideals of any sort; I’m focusing on what goes on in the un-ideal world. Almost any break-up of a close personal relationship will be uncomfortable at best and horribly painful at worst. Usual human behavior (not ideal, but usual) is to avoid going through frequent emotional discomfort. If polyamorists go through more uncomfortable break-ups than non-polyamorists (which includes single people and serial monogamists as well as til-death-do-up-part couples), they are likely to want to stop doing it in order to avoid the frequent discomfort.

    I don’t think there is any one ideal form of relationship, but I do think some are less likely to be successful than others. That doesn’t mean people shouldn’t try the riskier relationships if they want to. But they shouldn’t pretend that it isn’t more prone to break-up than other relationships.

    That is, assuming that it IS more prone to break-up. As I said before I have no actual numbers to back me up. But it seems to me likely, based on what I know of human behavior and human feelings. Bring in more solid information and I might change my mind– after I examine the study carefully.

    I didn’t take Geography 426 and 526 (Social Statistics and Advanced Social Statistics) for nothing.

    Jana C.H.
    Seattle
    Saith Auther Pinero: Where there is tea, there’s hope.

    P.S. What will you be in Seattle for? Will you be anywhere near Ballard?

  130. Jana C.H. says:

    Clarification: When I said “more uncomfortable break-ups” I meant “a larger number of uncomfortable break-ups,” not “break-ups that are more uncomfortable.” Clarity is all.

    JcH

  131. Butch Fatale says:

    Hah, well, give me the funding and the lab, and I’d be glad to.

    I’ll be in the area to visit my primary lover. I don’t know how much time we’ll be in Seattle (there are apparently plots afoot). He lives closer to Vancouver, so I’ll be spending most of my trip up north.

  132. Jana C.H. says:

    You don’t need a lab to do statistical research, just a computer and the proper software. But funding… You mean there isn’t a thinktank somewhere for Polyamory Studies? You polyamorists need to get on the ball!

    Jana C.H.
    Seattle
    Saith E.G. Forbes: Never spoil a good story with too much truth.

  133. Sir Real says:

    I dunno, Jana C.H., about your notion that people experiencing multiple breakups in polyamorous lives will turn instead to monogamy…

    that tends to assume that

    a) people react with any kind of rationality to setbacks in romance.
    1)I mean, people go through messy divorces – with all the legal mishegas – and still get married again. ?!?
    2) I can think of monogamous-type people who have gone through multiple painful breakups – in rapid succession – and they’re right back to it. You may be able to also.
    3) Really, the only reasonable reaction to dissapointment in romance is becoming a hermit… not observably that many…

    b) that breakups in poly situations will always be terribly wrenching. Mine have varied alot – fading away, breaking with horrible pain (that contributed to 4 years of celibacy), ending with sadness but calmly…

    Geeze, here I am shootin’ my mouth off – again – on a probably otherwise demised thread. I’ll let others reflect on this stuff, if they want to. At least until my next urgent thought 😉

  134. spudulike says:

    I forgot to note who said ‘I think one of the reasons why I love AB’s work so much is that most of her characters are complex enough to be loveable even when they do stupid things. You feel you know where they are coming from, and then you are able to forgive that they are not perfect. ‘… but I agree so strongly that I wanted to repeat that person’s remark!

    On another topic, I’m a woman and a feminist and I have no problem with the man who commented on Sidney’s ‘thick waist’. In my opinion, those who took offence are being a little bit too touchy. It’s not as if he made some comment about her appeal as a sex object, and even if he had, he was sharing a thread with people commenting on Samia’s ‘boobies’ and here on this thread we have people joking about having ‘knocked up’ Alison! It must be hard, as a man, to find a way of behaving that doesn’t get women either offended or laughing at you. I know my brother struggles with that.

    Having said that, thanks Alison for posting the link to ‘Sensitive Men to Watch Out For’. It’s hilarious! I laughed out loud all the way through it!

  135. mlk says:

    this discussion takes me to the fierce fight about recognition of committed gay relationships.

    I’ve read an argument that pressing for anything less than gay marriage just won’t wash as it creates the same sort of separate-but-equal status that blacks had pre-civil rights. it’s a good argument, and yet I believe it perpetuates the exclusionary posture of straight folks who oppose gay marriage. does the LGBT community really want to fight different versions of the same battle over and over and over? because redefining marriage as a union between 2 women/2 men and affording these relationships equal rights excludes recognition of relationships with 3 or more partners. granted, those who are in polyamorous relationships or multipartnered households won’t necessarily want recognition of their commitments — but then, not all gay and lesbian couples are seeking recognition and legal rights, either.

    I believe kate mckinnon suggested earlier that it’d be practical to separate out individuals’ legal commitments from a more personal or spiritual or community recognition of committed relationships. seems to me like a good starting place for our seeking legal rights. civil unions are much more flexible than marriage.

    this is where I believe inclusivity is preferable to perpetuating exclusive, one up/one down practices. but I don’t know if the LGBT comminity is prepared to be open minded enough to fight for rights based on inclusivity.

    maybe I’m wrong?

  136. mlk says:

    sorry that last was so rushed! I’m outta breath rereading it — was wanting to submit the comment before the computer timed out on me. at least it makes sense. I think . . .

    oh, and that’s LGBT community, not “comminity.”

  137. Little Guy says:

    Add me to the mix who loves “The Crush”. Since it’s a true stroy, I’ve always wondered if Alison reconnected with her (or vice versa), one way or another.

  138. Useful information about cat house training says:

    Some folks believe that newborn kittens, just like newborn humans, find comfort and security in the sound of their mothers’ and their siblings’ heartbeats. That the heartbeat, real or simulated, improves their chances for survival. I can’ t help but believe that this must also be true for the rest of us, including, if not especially, the elderly among us. There is comfort and healing in the very heartbeats of those we love,— spouses, children, grandparents, lovers, pets— and the closer to the heart we keep…