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May 27, 2017 5:53 PM   Subscribe

We're Poly Now, a music video by Chris Fleming.
posted by Joseph Gurl (43 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

Is there more to this than "poly people are bad"?
posted by aubilenon at 6:11 PM on May 27, 2017 [6 favorites]

I didn't take it that way, myself (nor did the poly person who shared it with me initially), but rather that poly people announcing their polyamory can be disconcerting. Also, funny stuff about boardgames and burlesque, and some inspired dancing.

I, for one, have nothing against poly folks at all.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:14 PM on May 27, 2017

I have no stake in the polyamorous debate but god this guy's schtick is like nails on a chalkboard. At least it's captioned.
posted by AFABulous at 6:20 PM on May 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

it is pretty offensive though, how it implies that only unattractive people are poly. (1:20)
posted by AFABulous at 6:23 PM on May 27, 2017 [5 favorites]

As a person who swings non-monogamous but has yet to really act on it due to the exact issues in this video, I find this hilarious.
posted by schroedinger at 6:37 PM on May 27, 2017 [4 favorites]

Is there more to this than "poly people are bad"?

Yes! It's also not super pro board-game couples. I also thought this was hilarious.
posted by figurant at 6:37 PM on May 27, 2017 [8 favorites]

Also, this other video by the same guy is disconcertingly reminiscent of my childhood experience.
posted by schroedinger at 6:44 PM on May 27, 2017 [4 favorites]

As a previously poly person (I, at this point, feel poly is a lot like communism - A great idea, but putting people in the equation fuck it up irreparably), I thought it was quite funny myself. As for the boardgame couples, I am not gameshaming. Depends on the game.
posted by Samizdata at 6:46 PM on May 27, 2017 [9 favorites]

Board game couples, so true.
posted by zippy at 6:46 PM on May 27, 2017

my poly ego was able to handle a moderate ribbing, although it *did* rather sting when he went after vests.
posted by mrjohnmuller at 6:49 PM on May 27, 2017 [12 favorites]

Ha! Good call, mod.

This video is something else.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:00 PM on May 27, 2017

So, my read on this is "OMG an ugly person might hit on me by telling me they're poly", which...

Okay, like, I am not poly and never hit on anyone and indeed am not even looking to date in the forseeable future, but I have a huuuuuuuuuuge amount of anxiety around people thinking "OMG, Frowner, who is a hideous ugly monster, seems to be attracted to me, this is the worst, what is wrong with me that I have attracted someone like this" and this kind of video does not help.
posted by Frowner at 8:04 PM on May 27, 2017 [20 favorites]

Oh, this is the guy who made Gigi the Christmas Snake. I remember seeing that last year and wondering what I'd just watched.
posted by suetanvil at 8:13 PM on May 27, 2017

and this kind of video does not help.

There is a punching-down quality to this kind of humor that I'm not a fan of, and your comment gets at why. There are better ways to make the same basic joke, like the old Groucho Marx line about "I don't care to belong to any club that will have me as a member," but this takes the other path of pointing and laughing.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:17 PM on May 27, 2017 [9 favorites]

Yeah, shit like this is why I'm so freaking selective about who even gets a whiff of a hint about my actual life (as opposed to people on the internet).
posted by miratime at 8:39 PM on May 27, 2017 [4 favorites]

I almost didn't click on this because I had just been thinking the day before about what an embarrassing failure my attempts at nonmonogamy have been in the past and how needlessly public it all was because of my very vocal partner at the time and I wasn't prepared to have my shame button pushed by a stupid internet video, but then I clicked it and laughed a little, and honestly I feel *so much better* when people are openly laughing at things they don't understand rather than secretly judging me. The only thing that will truly destroy my ego is being taken too seriously.
posted by mammal at 8:44 PM on May 27, 2017 [10 favorites]

I need to dress as one one of those pink poly monsters for Halloween this year.

"Oh, great costume!"
Me: "What costume?"
posted by congen at 11:14 PM on May 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

I guess it's a type of self-deprecating humor that you're either into or not. It's not really targetting me though, I'm the only one in my relationship interested in board games but I did forward the video on to my friend that is both poly and a board game lover as I think she'll appreciate the humor too.
posted by Hazelsmrf at 11:22 PM on May 27, 2017

(And honestly what I found humorous about it was not "wow look at how ridiculous poly couples are" but 'wow, look at how ridiculous these expressed views on polyamory are". )
posted by Hazelsmrf at 11:24 PM on May 27, 2017

Chris Fleming is great, my fave from him is I'm Afraid to Talk to Men. I think the linked video is satirizing the straight normies who fantasize that their hot friend from college who married Josh was poly, but instead this seems to be the more unsatisfying reality.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:08 AM on May 28, 2017 [9 favorites]

we just met, slow down
posted by acb at 5:57 AM on May 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

It would help the view that this isn't too bad , if he'd said even one positive thing. Like one.
posted by oddman at 6:06 AM on May 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

I think it simply reflects his experiences with expectations versus reality rather than a stab at the lifestyle itself. Obviously he doesn't detest polyamory as a concept, because otherwise, why would he "want" anyone to be poly?
posted by Young Kullervo at 7:30 AM on May 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

If we're going to get serious about this, what rang true for me about this video was not "hahaha poly people are ugly". Rather, it highlights that deeply uncomfortable situation that happens when you thought were hanging out with a perfectly lovely couple solely interested in your friendship, only to realize you were being scoped out as an add-on to a poly relationship. Or more frequently in these uncomfortable boundary-pushing situations, as a target for the threesome that the couple always wanted to try out. Like, being taken out alone for a coffee and having the conversation start with "Soooooo, we have something to tell you" while the couple looks meaningfully at one another and expects you to be really excited and aroused by the revelation? Yeaaaaaah.

It is analogous to developing a friendship with a guy only to have movie nights turn into him "accidentally" falling asleep on you, and he starts holding hugs just a little too long, and then he gets passive-aggressive when you don't take him up on a "friendly" outing on Valentine's Day or worse you go on an actual date with someone else, and things just keep escalating like that and basically you feel like you're not a friend, you're prey.

Being in this situation can leave you feeling deeply threatened, betrayed, and gross. You question whether you really had a friendship with a couple at all, you wonder if there were any red flags there and if you led them on. And if, God help you, you told them you were non-monogamous and/or bisexual then all the work you've done trying to overcome your internalized homophobia/biphobia dissipates and you go back to feeling like oh, maybe I really am a horrible pervert and sexual deviant who will never find love or friendship and is only capable of being a sex object.

So, like a lot of parodies of the Nice Guy phenomenon I found this to be a funny take on that particular experience while it simultaneously validated that if you end up in that situation it is not because something is wrong with you.

Obviously this is not all couples and this is not all poly relationships, and people practicing healthy polyamory/non-monogamy don't approach forming new relationships with that level, of, well, calculation. The video seemed to make that pretty clear via the body language of the "couple"
and talking about negging and whatever.

posted by schroedinger at 8:45 AM on May 28, 2017 [16 favorites]

Wow, this thread. I have nothing against poly people, but this was funny; My poly friend thought it was funny so it must be okay; It's really just about the bad ones / the out ones / the ones who hit on me. If a couple hits on you and you're not interested, you can just say so.
posted by Nothing at 12:33 PM on May 28, 2017 [2 favorites]

schroedinger, that sounds a lot like being a woman in ambiguous friend/ dating scenarios.

So is the message "poly people are bad because they make dudes feel like chicks"? There's definitely a layer of surface chuckle followed by 'what is this actually saying?' In here. I blame the sweet dance moves.
posted by GetLute at 12:45 PM on May 28, 2017

On review, you hit the nail on the head. That layer of calculation totally amplifies the ick.
posted by GetLute at 12:53 PM on May 28, 2017

"I can't be prejudiced against poly people. One of my best friends is poly!"
posted by mkhall at 1:16 PM on May 28, 2017

If a couple hits on you and you're not interested, you can just say so.

There is a different between being hit on and having people "befriend" you solely for the purpose of getting in your pants. When dudes do this they're derided and called Nice Guys. I don't know why it's considered acceptable when couples do it.

Addendum: I am not a dude.
posted by schroedinger at 1:33 PM on May 28, 2017 [4 favorites]

Will this make anyone feel better? (NSFW)
posted by mammal at 2:15 PM on May 28, 2017

Do we really need to have a thread on the Blue dedicated to making fun of people for being poly? (or rather not attractive enough to be appealingly poly, which is even worse?)
posted by mkuhnell at 3:20 PM on May 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

(I, at this point, feel poly is a lot like communism - A great idea, but putting people in the equation fuck it up irreparably)

To be fair, that's pretty much applicable to human relations in general.
posted by octobersurprise at 3:40 PM on May 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

I really don't see this thread and that song being about people that are REALLY poly, just those people that like to shock the mundanes by stating they are poly, because that is SO outrageous.
posted by Samizdata at 3:40 PM on May 28, 2017 [3 favorites]

Of course it is not acceptable for couples to act in creepy, predatory, or abusive ways. I just don't think the way to communicate that is to make a song about how poly people are ugly and creepy. And I don't think that the existence of creepy (or ugly, for that matter) poly people justifies the song. Or the tone of this discussion.
posted by Nothing at 5:11 PM on May 28, 2017 [2 favorites]

The thing is, "the people you want to be poly/kinky never are" is a really, really old "joke" at this point, and kind of wasn't funny to begin with — especially because it's a complaint you often hear made in a not-joking way by grown-ass men who are sad that these communities aren't 100% devoted to supplying hot teenage girls for them to perv on.

(The board game thing was cute.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:44 PM on May 28, 2017 [3 favorites]

my experience in the poly/non-monogamous world was a bunch of white nerds who vocally identified as being intersectional but 1) were generally incredibly insular and gossipy to an unhealthily toxic degree and 2) equated their non-monogamous lifestyles to a privilege/oppression matrix of similar burdens to being queer or a person of color or etc

the local poly Facebook group near me feels much the same with its cuddle parties and its monohued membership. and I've heard similar reports of other poly meetups in my city from other PoC about unacknowledged positionality - where mostly white groups like these adopt a victim complex that assumes an oppression Olympics and then a place within it. which is why you always see PoC and queer folx coming up with their separate, distinct groupings within these communities: black cosplayers find other black cosplayers, queer communities are extremely reluctant to be inclusive of gray/sapiosexuality, and so on

and then there's the gap between people who claim to be intersectional and who then fail their own oft-iterated standards in action. but of course that's true for a whole bevy of white progressives, esp those who don't and have never engaged in actual activism, the kind where you keep coming back to finish a project that will get us just that half a step closer to a more equitable world. but that's a rant for another day ;)
posted by runt at 9:11 PM on May 28, 2017 [5 favorites]

> it highlights that deeply uncomfortable situation that happens when you thought were hanging out with a perfectly lovely couple solely interested in your friendship, only to realize you were being scoped out

This sentence, replacing "lovely couple" with "friendly guy", accurately describes the year I spent late nights out at the diner in Castro in SF a decade ago. After the tenth guy I just gave up and decided all strangers were hostile there and stopped going.

Maybe the song is (also) secretly about teaching guys why it's not okay to friend someone for sex alone.
posted by crysflame at 3:46 AM on May 29, 2017

(I don't mean to repurpose the song. I'm just admiring how effective of an analogy it is in poly but not in monogamy form.)
posted by crysflame at 3:48 AM on May 29, 2017

This guy brings out a strange, almost paternal feeling in me. He tips right on the edge of hilarious and trying too hard in a way I kinda like. 'Cause I like when people try hard at stuff, I guess. Like, I'm rooting for him even when he's grating and relieved when he's funny.

As a proud MA resident about to move to CA, I find his bit about Masschusetts in this one is pitch perfect.
posted by es_de_bah at 5:02 AM on May 29, 2017 [2 favorites]

I think the trouble is that either this line of thought ("I wish hot people would be poly and hit on me!!") is a total cliche, or it's mean.

The thing is, this video does not express the idea that it's weird when a couple takes you out to coffee and creeps on you; it very clearly expresses the idea that it's unpleasant when a non-hot couple takes you out to coffee and creeps on you. "When people who I find unattractive want to have sex with me, it's like being chased by monsters!!" is the message.

If he's trying to convey that unsolicited sexual attention from friends or acquaintances is weird and creepy, he needs to separate that out from "and these people are not hot". Otherwise the message is, "gee, if friends and acquaintances who are attractive proposition me, that's great, but these people are ugly". And honestly, look, we all think "I would like to have sex with people I find attractive and not have sex with people I do not find attractive", but making a big production about how some people just aren't hot is unpleasant. It's also messed up because, naturally, we do not all find the same people sexually appealing - "these people are so unhot, amirite" is a line of thought that consolidates the idea that only X kind of people should be recognized as attractive, which worsens the sexual lives of people who are perfectly capable of attracting partners but don't meet mainstream standards.

I've been hearing that same joke for years, usually framed as "why is it that the people who are sex positive are the last people you'd want to have sex with". And though I would describe myself as sex-neutral or sex-agnostic, I really hate that line, because it's used against a number of people in my social circle who really don't deserve it.
posted by Frowner at 8:05 AM on May 29, 2017 [3 favorites]

I add that since the video seems to suggest that people who are hot enough are welcome to proposition, it gets us into the uneasy space of "if you ask someone to have sex with you and are not attractive enough, you are being creepy and gross and should know better". Which means that all people who are not literally turning heads with their beauty as they walk down the street are in this space of "am I attractive enough to dare, or would that be creepy and gross". Which makes many people err on the side of "I am too creepy and gross for love", when honestly have we not seen friends of all degrees of mainstream beauty find relationships? The people I know who date the most easily and mostly end up in good relationships are not, actually, the most conventionally hot of my acquaintances.
posted by Frowner at 8:16 AM on May 29, 2017

I laughed some but find his other videos funnier. I think that it's a stretch to make it seem like all poly couples are like that, certainly some are though and hence the lols. I think Schroedinger nails it above talking about people who are sexually predatory/creepy in general. I think he needs to make a similar video about horny singles who try to get poly couples in bed, not understanding that poly people aren't just ready to bone anyone at any time.
posted by SassHat at 8:24 AM on May 29, 2017

I love my poly board-gaming couple friends.

I just never get involved in their spats...
posted by Theta States at 9:32 AM on May 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

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