juvenile fantasy

Kevin Patterson

1. How long have you been polyamorous or been practicing polyamory?

I’m not exactly sure. I remember having ideas of MFF triads in my early 20s. I saw such a triad on an episode of HBO’s Taxicab Confessions and thought “That dude has the right idea!” But, I didn’t really believe that it was an option for regular guys like me, back then. I logically reasoned that the guy on that show was some sort of wizard or a Jedi pulling a mind trick on two impressionable ladies. I also reasoned that the idea of ethical nonmonogamy, in any form was just a juvenile fantasy for a young guy who was unhappy with his recent relationships. No way that could possibly work. Right?

In 2002, a few months after meeting the woman I would marry, we stumbled into a brief moment of non-monogamy. Believing in my own ignorance, I expected everything to turn awkward and unstable. Instead, it strengthened the bond. Soon after, we started having lengthy and repeated discussions about how important exclusivity was to our relationship. As it turns out…not very.

What started with just casual partners and friends with benefits eventually evolved into a desire for longer term and more committed relationships. While I don’t know exactly when the switch flipped, I do know that we discovered local and online polyamory groups in 2013 and began identifying as such around that time.

2. What does your relationship dynamic look like?

My polyamory most closely resembles relationship anarchy. Everyone in my life creates their own dynamic with me based on what works for us…romantically, sexually, socially and logistically. The relationships basically form themselves.

As of this writing, I’ve been blissfully married for almost ten years, I’m in one other loving committed partnership, and I currently entertain a few more casual or long distance or “friends with benefits” dating relationships that activate or deactivate with the needs of the participants. The benefits activate or deactivate…the friendships are a constant.

3. What aspect of polyamory do you excel at?

Minimizing! The phrases “keep it simple, stupid” and “don’t sweat the small stuff…and it’s ALL small stuff” are pretty much where I live. A game-changing partner once described me as “annoyingly uncomplicated.” My wife called me “frustratingly chill.” My emotions rarely run too hot or too cold. I don’t take too many things personally. I don’t give or accept a lot of apologies or explanations. I’m pretty straight forward with my words and intentions. The result is that my relationships don’t usually contain a lot of yelling or crying or detrimental miscommunications.

Life is hard and relationships are complicated as a default setting. I’m good at not making them any more difficult through my words and actions.

4. What aspect of polyamory do you struggle with?

I fall in love pretty easily. In the past, before subscribing to a more relationship anarchy-based approach, I put too much stock in pushing interactions “to the next level” and expectations of returned feelings. When my partner’s intentions didn’t match my own, I stopped appreciating the moment. I wasn’t satisfied with the time I was spending with someone and started dwelling on the amount of time I wasn’t. It was frustrating to me and unfair to my partners.

5. How do you address and/or overcome those struggles?

I own my shit! I recognize that attachment to intentions and expectations is old-thinking from my monogamous days. I’m getting better at letting go of all of that stuff and living in the moment of each relationship. I’m better at accepting that my communication of wants and needs will not always end with all of those wants and needs being addressed…and that that is not necessarily an indication that my partner doesn’t care. It could just as easily mean that my partner is not suited to, willing to, or capable of meeting that need…which doesn’t have to be a reflection on me.

Also, I’m getting better at managing Kevin. Relational frustration, for me, is often a sign that I’m not taking care of myself. So, when I start feeling some sort of way, I try to sleep more or get more exercise or eat better or beat some video game or replace all of my socks and/or boxers. If self-care doesn’t improve my mood…only then do I start exploring the possibility that my relational needs may require adjustment.

6. In terms of risk-aware/safer sex, what do you and your partners do to protect one another?

I get screened for STIs every 3 – 6 months depending on the introduction of new partners. I also use barriers with partners… activity-dependent on everyone’s level of comfort. Most importantly, for me, is that I prompt a discussion of STI status and protection with new partners whenever it looks like there is a mutual interest in sexual activity. I say it’s most important, because it has changed the way I view my potential partners…in terms of health, awareness and mindset. As well, it changed the way my potential partners view me…in terms of safety, honesty and consent.

7. What is the worst mistake you’ve ever made in your polyamorous history and how did you rebound from that?

Fairly early in my polyamorous adventure, a long time, generally monogamous friend and I found ourselves available and willing to explore a mutual attraction for the first time ever. A platonic evening together turned into something more. It was an unplanned and unexpected turn of events. So, although she knew that I was non-monogamous, we never got a chance to discuss what that would mean for us. The morning after, as I got ready to travel back home to my wife (then fiancee), my friend felt guilty. She felt that she had destroyed our friendship and betrayed my wife…who was also a friend of hers.

I tried to explain that our friendship didn’t need to change and that my wife wouldn’t feel betrayed. My friend wouldn’t hear any of it. She cried and begged me to promise not to tell my wife about our hook up. Foolishly, I agreed…which was the REAL betrayal. Some time passed before I eventually broke down and confessed. To her credit, my wife did exactly what I told my friend she would do…she giggled and asked for details. My friend was hurt that I didn’t keep my promise, but it was unfair of her to have asked and stupid of me to have agreed. We all eventually got over it. We’re all still on great terms and, for a brief time after this event, we were active as friends-with-benefits.

The rebound is that I hold a lot more detailed discussions as to the nature of my relationship now. I don’t really date women who don’t identify as non-monogamous or polyamorous, but I do explain how my dynamic functions to anyone I’m interested in. Most importantly, though, I don’t break my integrity for anyone. Asking me to lie to any of my partners about anything that might affect them is a no-can-do…and I’m not shy about saying so.

8. What self-identities are important to you? How do you feel like being polyamorous intersects with or affects these identities?

Well…I’m black. That’s pretty easy to spot. It’s an important identity for me because it impacts how I view the world and informs how the world views me. In regards to my polyamory, I often find myself to be the only person or one of very few people of color at local events. I always have to remain wary of fetishization, othering, and tokenism. At the same time, I have to dodge commentary from monogamous people of color who might assume or insist that polyamory is “some white people shit.” I feel as if it’s partly my responsibility to change the representation while also being the representation.

To that end, another important identity for me is that of social justice warrior. Although, I’m really more of a social justice rogue! Devilishly handsome and as quick, sharp, and deadly with my wit as I am with my daggers. Either way, I’ve greatly improved the quality and well being of my social circle by respecting and standing for people who are different from me. I know how disappointing it feels to see good-hearted, well-meaning people casually ignore racism in their presence and among their friends. So, I work hard to not be that silent friend when others need me to offer support. As such, intersectionality and recognition of oppression, privilege, and entitlement have become hardline requirements for my dating circle.

(Bonus: Do you have any groups, projects, websites, blogs, etc. that you are involved with that you would like to promote?)

In my spare time, I run a tiny blog called Poly Role Models

You’ve probably never heard of it…

[28] Coraline

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Title: Coraline

Author: Neil Gaiman

Genre: Modern Fantasy

Age Level: Juvenile 8+

Plot: When Coraline, an adventurous little girl, moves into a new house she is intrigued by a door in her drawing room that opened up to a brick wall. Until one day when she opened it and walked through a secret passage into another house, the same as her own… only different. In this new world she had another mother and another father who looked like her own parents but instead of being boring and not caring about her they were fun, exciting and loving…. with buttons sewn over their eyes. Coraline learns quickly however, that things in this other world are not as good as they may seem.

My Thoughts: This is definitely a delightfully creepy book. Creepy creepy creepy. But still wonderful. I’ve heard that many parents are scared to let their kids read it because they think it would be too scary for them but kids seem to love it and I’d have to say that I did too.

The wonderful thing about Coraline is that it sucks you in with an exciting story while teaching children a very simple lesson… to be happy with what you have. We’re always thinking that the grass will be greener on the other side but that’s not always true. Coraline even says at one point while in the other world that she doesn’t want to be in a world where she can have anything she wants because then those things are meaningless. She learns that she can be happy with what she has instead of always wishing for more.

The character of Coraline is top notch as well. She’s a wonderful role model for young adventurous children who teaches children how to be brave and strong even when they don’t feel that way on the outside. 

I actually saw the movie first before I read the book (which I hate to do) so I was constantly comparing the book to the movie and I’d have to say that for once the movie actually does the book justice! Tim Burton has no problem with making it creepy as all get out and although little things are changed I don’t think the changes take anything away from it.

Rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have a lot of thoughts swirling around in my head about superheroes and mythology, and this probably isn’t going to make a lot of sense, but I wanted to get it out anyway.

I’ve seen a lot of commentary lately, both online and in interviews with people in Hollywood, referring to superheroes as juvenile male power fantasies and tedious, cookie cutter stories of a white man saving the day all on his own and so on and so forth.  Statements about how superhero blockbusters are a dying genre, and everyone can see it except the guys in Hollywood desperately clinging to it.

Now, I’ll be the first to say that not everyone is required to like superhero movies or comics.  I, for one, hate romantic comedies, and I can only imagine how frustrated I’d be with the entertainment industry if suddenly rom coms were the big huge things getting multi-million dollar budgets and multi-picture crossover deals and all the big stars and all the media attention.  And all too often, superhero movies have copied the same formula of some white guy becoming the hero and saving the day and getting the girl.  And it’s absolutely true that there’s a huge good old boy’s club in Hollywood entrenched in sexism and constantly stomping on women’s voices and opportunities, and that needs to change immediately.  That it’s gone on this long is disgusting.

But it makes me sad when I see comic movies criticized as the epitome of this attitude, because historically, comics and their fandoms have so often been a way for marginalized voices to be heard.

Superman, before he became known as the big blue Boy Scout, originally fought dirty cops and other corrupt authority figures.  His creators were Jewish and his origin is identical to Moses, and so he was essentially a modern day savior figure, fighting for the oppressed.  Wonder Woman was created to promote both feminist attitudes and BDSM practices.  Captain America, also created by Jewish writers, was intended to serve as anti-Nazi propaganda and to urge Americans to enter WWII.

And these are just the comics that endured.  Before the Comics Code Authority came along and started stamping out anything that went against their values, comics were so much more diverse, and many were focused on and marketed to groups other than white people, straight people, Christians, etc.

And when comics themselves were male power fantasies, readers have always reframed narratives to be more meaningful for their lives.  Batman and Robin, for example, have historically been considered gay icons.  This isn’t because the comics portray their relationship as romantic, but because a sizable portion of the fandom has for decades.  In the present day, there’s a large number of fans, many of whom are female and/or survivors of abuse and assault, who identify strongly with the Winter Soldier and his narrative of abuse and being stripped of autonomy.

Now, none of this changes the fact that the people holding the reins of superhero film franchises are absolutely a bunch of white men who don’t appear to care much for other perspectives, or horribly mangle those perspectives when they try to portray them (such as the Black Widow plot in AoU).  This seems to be finally, slowly starting to change in terms of representation (with Captain Marvel and Black Panther’s films, and shows like Supergirl, Agent Carter, and Jessica Jones on TV), but it needs to change behind the scenes as well.

Superheroes can and historically have been a means to give a voice to the marginalized and oppressed.  The problem with Hollywood’s superhero franchises are not the superheroes in and of themselves, in my mind.  It’s that we need more diversity in the people providing these stories.  We need new sets of eyes examining the mythology and presenting it in better ways.

I’m not sure if any of that made sense.  It’s not even that I disagree that superhero movies, as they are now, are reinforcing a lot of the things wrong with Hollywood.  But I guess I see the source material itself as another victim to this lack of diversity, rather than a thing that only has a place in the good old boy’s club.


Shivers suggested a podcast a couple weeks ago, so I decided to bring along @sgt-shivers and @kinsie and have a blast talking about Cool Opinions.
Being a pilot episode, let us know if this is something you think is pretty good and you’d like to hear more of, stuff you think would be cool to talk about, or if we all should shut up.

In E1M1, we talk about Doom being popular and how unlikely that is, what happens when you smoosh wads together, Jumpmaze being for casual scum, Requiem for best aesthetics Cacoward, how much I hate Cyriak, Zandronum compatibility, New Zealand internet being inherently superior for GZDoom netplay, me not working on DUMP 3, Kinsie’s love life, why DemonSteele will never have its own mapset, juvenile power fantasies, how much we love a mod with a name we can’t even remember, and 2012 returning for part two.