For much of my dating life, I had what I called the "Big Four." These were the four issues apt to create speed bumps in my love life. I was seriously kinky, I was polyamorous, I was a sex worker, and I was bisexual. Cyndi Lauper and I—we were so unusual.
I shopped for partners in places where I could assume they were already hip to one, or maybe two, of those things. But I needed a partner who would easily accept all four of those identities. And guess what? There are neither bars nor personal-ad sites specifically for kinky poly bisexual sex workers. So I often had to wrestle with the question of when should I tell? When do I tell this attractive person something that might turn him or her off to me?
My big four are not the only delicate issues. Transsexual people often have to think about this, as do HIV-positive people. Honesty versus hormones is a tough fight sometimes.
There are two strategies, both of which have some merit. One way is to tell them right away. Put it in your personal ad or mention it casually in the first 10 minutes of your cocktail-party conversation. That way, if they can't handle it, you haven't invested any time or gotten too attached. It saves disappointment down the road.
I can see the reasons for doing that, and I have employed this method myself. But for some matters, it's hard to do gracefully. It's common for people who've just met me to ask, "So, what do you do for a living?" And I can smile and tell them, and let them respond as they may.
However, it's less common for people to lightly introduce the subject of, say, sex-reassignment surgery or potentially transmissible diseases. Forcing intimate topics into casual conversation too quickly is gauche. And at the very early stages of courtship, being gauche is even worse than being unusual.
The second way is to hold back. Spend some time together—say, two dates—and let them get to know you. Then have the "there's something I should mention to you" conversation. The rationale for this method is that the person gets some perspective on you as a whole person and is more likely to put your unusual thing in context. You do run a higher risk of hurt feelings this way, but I've had better results with it overall.
My one rule is: You must disclose before you fuck. I think it's unethical to get someone naked without giving him/her the whole story. And I don't mean wait until someone has one hand on your zipper, either. Sit down on the couch with your clothes on and talk. Try not to get angry if they pull back—sometimes people need a bit of time to process information, and if you stay cool and let them go off and work through it for a day or so, they may very well come back and say, "All right, I can work with that." Until personal-ad websites catch up with the niche markets, I think it's the best way.
FRIDAY 5/11CLUB NIGHT AT THE CUFF
No cover for leather, bear, motorcycle, or rodeo club members (requires membership card or club colors). Also, no cover for those with Club Seattle or Basic Plumbing cards. Cuff, 1533 13th Ave, 323-1525, 10:30 pm, $3 before 11 pm/$4 after, 21+.
SATURDAY 5/12KINKY CARNIVAL
Kissing booths, sexy performances, rope-bondage sampling booth, and a human petting zoo. Little Red Studio , 750 Harrison St, www.kinkycarnival.org, 7 pm—midnight, $20, advance tickets available at Babeland.PUGAPALOOZA!
The word pug may have come from the Latin pugnus, or "fist" (since pugs have faces that look like closed fists). Pugnus is also the origin of the word pugilist and pugnacious—clearly, the pug is the patron animal of spankers, floggers, and others who find lots to love in a little violence. Sand Point Magnuson Park, Airplane Hangar #30, 7400 Sand Point Way NE, www.seattlepugs.com, noon-—4 pm, $10.POLY POTLUCK
Open to people of all genders and orientations who are involved or interested in polyamorous relationships. Wet Spot, 1602 15th Ave W, Building E, www.scn.org/~spg, 728-4533, 5—8 pm, $3—$5 donation, membership not required.
SUNDAY 5/13EROTIC MASSAGE NIGHT
Sensual touch for couples and singles, facilitated by David Longmire. No experience required. Wet Spot, 1602 15th Ave W, Building E, firstname.lastname@example.org, 270-9746, 5—9 pm (doors close at 6 pm), $10, members only.
WEDNESDAY 5/16PORN MOVIE PREMIERE
Join Babeland and Blowfish Video in celebrating the release of In Search of the Wild Kingdom, the new film from Shine Louise Houston (The Crash Pad, Superfreak). Steamy lesbian sex starring lots of hot butches and femmes. Screening is 8pm @ Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, and tickets can be purchased in advance at Babeland, 707 E. Pike St., 328-2914, 8 pm, $12—$15.