Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Triads and Quadrangles: The Semiotics of Party-Kissing

If I may metablog for a moment, I haven’t written a real update in a while because I was worried that all of my emo and overthinking and things-being-way-too-big-of–a-deal might be scaring people away from getting to know me in real life. But censoring myself is never a good idea, and I guess if it’s between boys and writing, I’d have to choose writing.

Back when I was single, party-kissing was something I lamented—it meant a physical connection with no emotional one, and that felt empty. Now, it still means that to me a little bit, but party-kissing has also come to symbolize something I think maybe I want—pleasure for the sake of pleasure, without worrying if there are emotions involved. Maybe I want this because I’ve been rejected a few times for getting overly attached, or maybe I really do want it. This is a story of being left out of party-kissing and ending up questioning my whole romantic situation.

The players are S, an adorable and very popular gentleman, a close friend whom I almost dated at the beginning of last summer and B, the poly-family-man crush I’ve been trying to get over.

B. and his wife throw really good parties. They had one toward the end of the summer that was a carnival-themed fundraiser for Food Not Bombs, and one of the carnival attractions was a kissing booth staffed by said husband and wife, who at that time I hardly knew at all. I thought, sure, why not, and with Amy’s blessing I paid two dollars (I thought they should have charged more!) and kissed them both. It was very nice and I didn’t give it a whole lot of thought. I spent most of that party snuggling with S. in a platonic way, and didn’t give that a lot of thought either.

The next day I got a text from S. worrying that he’d given me the wrong idea, and telling me for what seemed like the millionth time that he just wanted to be friends, which I already knew. When I heard from B. a few days later, it seemed like we might have a connection. He flirted a whole bunch for a little while and then abruptly stopped. I think this is maybe just a normal part of dating, of course people should be able to change their minds, but it kind of got stuck in my head. I couldn’t help wondering what I’d done to make him change his mind.

That was around the time I stopped doing in-depth blog updates. It was also the time when I split up with my poetry venue, which brought on a whole lot more grief than I expected. Things seemed to be changing so fast, and B, who shouldn’t have been a big deal, got mixed up with those feelings of loss in my head.

Meanwhile, I kept getting all of this advice that I would have to relax a little bit in order for guys to find me attractive. This had the opposite effect of freaking me the fuck out, because though I can be easygoing from time to time, I’m mostly just an intense person. I felt like this might rule me out of dating guys entirely, which I guess is a long-running fear.  I was sort of split between trying to accept myself for what I am and trying to fit myself into that easygoing mold so that S. and other guys might find me attractive. I didn’t realize that I still had a crush on S. until just last week.

S’s Eighties-themed birthday party was at the home of the kissing-booth couple, and I had some trepidations about going. Some of the poetry venue folks were going to be there, and I still had complicated feelings about that, and B. had officially told me he didn’t like me back just three days before the party. Still, I didn’t want to let any of that stand in my way of getting to celebrate my friend and dance my ass off. For almost the whole party, I had a wonderful time. I reconnected with the venue friends, made some new friends, and, most importantly, got to dance a lot. If Amy and I had left a half hour earlier than we did, I’d have called it a perfect night.

There are two things that I should clarify before I finish the story: The first is that B. looked way too androgynously hot at that party for him to be someone I was trying to get  over. He was sort of cross-dressed in an Eighties-style aerobic outfit. Wow, that really does not seem hot when I type it, but it was. The second thing is that people make out A LOT at these parties, seemingly without rhyme or reason. The seeming arbitraryness of the kissing weirds Amy out, but it really always seemed like fun to me.

S. is a very snuggly person, and whenever he and B. were snuggling, I’d get a pang because I wanted to be included and couldn’t work out why I wasn’t. During Biz Markie’s Just a Friend, when B. leaned in to kiss S, it was really hot. I should have left the room but I just kept dancing. S. apologized and I laughed the whole thing off at the time, but the feeling of that kiss stuck with me. I’m pretty sure they were both really drunk and that their kiss meant way more to me than it did to them, but I couldn’t shake the jealously off.

For some reason, for all of the everybody-kissing-everybody-else that I’ve seen and been a part of, this was the kiss that made me feel as if things had gone wildly out of control. A husband and wife kissing booth makes INFINITELY more sense to me that a close friend making out with a crush who just rejected me three days before. It just made me feel that in order to be poly, at least in this particular context, I had to accept the fact that there are no boundaries anywhere. That isn’t what polyamory is supposed to be, but sometimes it seems like that’s what it is.

I felt left out and doubly bad because I felt like I’d been rejected as a possible party-kisser because I was too attached to both of them. I wished that I could have somehow convinced them that I wasn’t overly emotional, so that they wouldn’t have left me out.

I have been worried for a while that I might be emotional for polyamory, that I get attached too fast and need too much. I tried to master the guardedness I saw in some of my poly friends, but I couldn’t. I am not guarded. If I like someone, I like them a lot and I shower them with affection, whether they are a friend or something else or both. And apparently, kisses do mean a lot to me, even if I paid a dollar for them, even, sometimes, if they have nothing at all to do with me.

I’m not giving up just yet on being poly, though I may have to distance myself from that particular group of friends for a while. My hope is that when I meet the right person (or people) I will be able to be myself. I won’t feel like I have to prove that I’m aloof or unemotional or easygoing, because he’ll just like me for who I actually am. Maybe, just maybe, there’s a guy out there who won’t be scared away by all of the very many paragraphs I have to offer.

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