Sunday, July 01, 2007

I don't recall Miss Manners addressing this one.

I'm having a cocktail party and inviting a polyamorous friend. I'm inviting her legal husband, whom I barely know but he is her husband. He has a lover that they seem to hang out with all the time whom I went to high school with, so I invited her.

My friend has another lover who, judging from his livejournal page, is oddly obsessed with elves. He's "otherkin" if you know what that means. I don't know the guy and have trouble believing he would gel with the rest of my friends, though that may be my own speciesism against elves showing.

I realize that when one invites people to a party, one is supposed to invite their significant others.

But goodness...



Lilylou said...

Hey, where's your radical hospitality, CC?

I'll never forget the day one summer when my Whidbey congregation was visited by a guy who had gone to great lengths to transform himself into a tiger, complete with surgically enhanced facial features, implanted whiskers, tattooed stripes, carefully filed claws, the works. He was a traffic-stopper.

And when he showed up at our door that Sunday, I was blown away by the aplomb of our aged usher who offered serenely to make him a nametag (Hello, my name is CAT), gave him an order of service, and introduced him around without a flicker of astonishment.

We had the pleasure of going out to the Chinese place after church with Cat and his friends and getting to know him, though he never came back.

There was only a minor ripple in congregational life because of his visit. And I used our experience as an illustration in a sermon later.

But I realize that church is different from a cocktail party! Gee, WWMMD?

Lilylou said...

Here's a link to information about the guy who visited us that day.

Chalicechick said...

Yeah, that guy's a regular on "News of the Weird." The lizard guy too.

I should make it clear that I would do by best not to bat an eyelash if the guy who sees himself as a fairy showed up at my CHURCH. Inviting him to a party when I don't even know him to me feels different.


Steve Caldwell said...


You may want to look at the following book:

The Bride Wore Black Leather...And He Looked Fabulous!: An Etiquette Guide for the Rest of Us by Drew Campbell and Donna Barr

It's an etiquette guide for issues related to polyamory, BDSM, and kink subcultures.

Good luck.

fausto said...

You could invite a troll, and let him and the elf duke it out in the alley. (I could think of a few if your own list is coming up short.)

Seriously, it's your party, and you're entitled to choose your own guests, without undertaking a corresponding obligation to invite their guests too. If other guests are arriving with mates, and you don't have an independent personal connection to your polyamorous friend's various mates, it wouldn't be discriminatory or rude to ask your friend to choose only one escort, if that's what you'd prefer.

Louise said...

Actually, fausto, that would be exactly discriminatory. The whole point of being accepting of poly people is acknowledging that they have more than one significant other.

And while CC isn't obligated to invite partners, to selectively UNINVITE partners smacks of discrimination. If she hated Mary's spouse and Mary knew that, okay. But to not invite someone she's never met on the basis of their less common way of moving through the world, hmmm. Bears thinking about.

Just as we wouldn't tell a gay male friend to "choose a female escort" to bring to a party or ask a Mormon friend with lots of children to "choose just your two favorite kids," we shouldn't ask a poly friend to select one partner.

In my old church, we used to have a saying, "Lean into your discomfort." It is always a risk to welcome new people into your life, your home, or your party. But if your friend selected this person as THEIR friend/lover/partner then really how great a stretch is it to meet them?

This elfkin may be a wonderful raconteur or show up with fabulous canapes or spontaneously lead the party in rousing singing, or simply have a meaningful conversation with one other guest. Gosh, how very human ;-)

fausto said...

Louise, I disagree, strenuously. It's CC's party. She isn't being rude not to invite someone she doesn't know, especially someone whose personal peculiarities make her uncomfortable. Rather, it would be rude of a guest to presume upon her hospitality by expecting her to do so.

Everyone at issue here, hostess and prospective guest alike, is making free personal choices. Choices have consequences, and when we make unusual choices, we must also accept the consequences. A guy who decides to relate to the world as an elf can reasonably be expected to be invited to fewer parties.

You misunderstand the entire concept of discrimination if you think what I am saying is discriminatory. No one is being prejudged for things over which they have no control. It's not as if CC is proposing drawing a line on the basis of ethnicity, gender or skin color.

Steve Caldwell said...

Fausto wrote:
You could invite a troll ...

Don't we already have enough trolls on the internet?


fausto said...

Yes, that's why I said I could think of a few...

Louise said...

I agree that CC isn't obligated to invite into her home someone she doesn't like or is nervous about.

Maybe I misread her original intention but it seemed like she wasn't inviting this person because he was only peripherally involved in the poly group AND by the way, he is this unusual elf person. In rereading the original post, I see that I could very well have jumped to the wrong conclusion.

Following along my own conclusions, I applied them to fausto's comment and saw discrimination where there wasn't any. My apologies.

However, I'm glad to see the dialog about people living in different realities that has resulted, both the elf world, the poly world, and even the "key party" world in another post.

I'm hoping that CC does decide to invite the elf and tell us the story. I meet so few people who are "on the bleeding edge" in my life, and hearing about your new friends makes me feel more connected!

Anonymous said...

Just weighing in here: I would hate to be invited to a party simply for curiosity factor. The elf is probably a lot less weird than ya'll are projecting.

I get lots of invitations that simply say "you and a date are invited to..."
It's a matter of crowd-control. If I had six kids, I wouldn't bring them all to any event I knew they had a food budget and a less-than palatial home. Likewise, if I had two SO's I wouldn't presume that the expression "three's a crowd" didn't apply to me.

Best to ask the hostess before presuming, or hope that the hostess will be as gracious as CC was and ask me first.

(PB, who doesn't even have .5 of an SO)