Columns Jul 27, 2011 at 4:00 am

Poly Prospects with Hipsters, Nerds, Hippies, and Punks


"I've found that when I tell a nerd guy that, theoretically, he could have two girlfriends—one of them being me—he generally doesn't find that idea unattractive." That is just one of the most awesome lines. :P
As one of those nerd guys, I'd just like to offer our collective thanks. Your columns always show us much love :D
I'm surprised by the punk analysis... I think of middle-class values and hippie values as being basically opposite, and I'd think punks would be all about rebelling against the monogamy system.
Yeah, I was kinda like... hippies have middle-class values, wtf?
Well, yuppies were very often former hippies, so...
'Former' being the key word.
This is incredibly insightful. I have long wondered why more hipsters and punks aren't poly, and I think you nailed it. And it makes sense for why the nerds and hippies are too. You've factored in class and aesthetics perfectly for each group. I'm sure there's exceptions, but this answers questions I've had for decades. Thanks!
@7: Can you explain the punk thing then? Cause I don't get it at all.
Archetypal punks oscillate between two poles: nihilist and straight-edge. Each involves a type of non-atttachment that is not particularly conducive to relationships. Nihilist punks will have sex with you. They'll also use lots of drugs (or use one drug a lot) and burst out in spasms of seriously random behavior. Straight edge punks are doubtful about the whole sex thing, and certainly more doubtful about sex outside of a monogamous, committed relationship.

Now, there are always going to be exceptions in any cultural subgroup. I've known a few sexually venturesome, non-crazy, not-too-druggy punks. I've also known some emotionally open hipsters, highly focused hippies, and socially competent nerds. Your mileage may vary.
Maybe Denver is just incredibly different from Seattle, but this list is pure bullshit here. I know all kinds of punks who are very poly-positive. But Denver is notorious for having lots of kickass anarchist queer punks. I have found that group of people to be the easiest group to find good poly folks. The majority of my friends are poly, but when I really examine it, it is because most of my friends are queer and to me, queer people are the best pool of people who will engage in poly relationships.

You know, it goes along with the eschewing of normative values that many people have. Queer people are intentional about this, so of course they are more likely to have considered this. When I've been in other cities, I can always find a bunch of radical queers who will gladly have poly relationships with you.
Yeah, I can see where punks would be more sexually conservative than hippies. The first hippies were mostly college students. In the 1960's, only rich kids (middle class and up) were in college. Poor kids were either working or fighting in a war. Punks came out of the blue-collar world and free love just isn't part of that.
There is a sliding scale/crossover between "nerd" and "punk" and "hipster" is a term generally defined by the person using it.
Does anyone read this shit? I think this is the second time I've read a control tower column in 6 months or so, and once again it is just more boring, bad advice. It's been posted for a week and there are only 12 comments, despite content that could be considered controversial due to vapid generalizations. Yawn.
Are you serious? Really? This reads like an article in a high school newspaper. I didn't think actual grown-ass people talked about the distinguishing features of hipsters, punks, hippies, and nerds. They're all just people, and people are all different, period. Fail.
As a Poly Punk, I have to say....


What a pain.
I'm with 14. What a load of crap. The disclamer at the end doesn't make it any less of a pile of shit either.
"I strongly prefer dating people who haven't already been partners with half the women I know."

You say that as if its a bad thing. In my opinion, that sounds like a pretty traditional attitude. Put that together with the whole categorization thing and I'm not sensing open minded. Not what I'd expect in the poly-whatever community.
Lighten up Francis
Nerds all the way, whatever the gender. I think one of the defining characteristics of nerdy/geeky people is that we're analytical and are able to separate knee-jerk, emotional responses from hypotheticals. A big part of considering poly is getting past any initial stigma/bias/misinformation associated with it.

Also, though this may be automatically included with "hippies," pagans, Wiccans, and new agey types are, in my experience, much more likely to be poly than those with other beliefs (maybe even more than non-religious people like me and my partners). I think the pro-women environments within those belief systems give them a big edge when it comes to poly acceptance.
@JuletEcho, I think you're right about the new agers. For a hyper-rational atheist non-monogamist, it's kind of crazy-making when most of the available pool of already-there guys wrap it all up in some goofy drum circling nonsense.
@10 - Poly punks are also common in the Detroit area and Chicago, so perhaps it's regional.

About the hippies/pagans/New Age types: yes, they are often poly. However, and not to generalize and say they're all like this, but proportionally speaking I have met more creepy/dysfunctional "poly" types that stem from those communities than people from the punk, queer or kink communities that also identify as poly. Just my experience.
From a purely analytical, statistical, acturial standpoint. The probability of an adverse outcome increases exponentially with the number of people with whom you are intimate. That is because you are being intimate no only with each of them, but every one with whom they are intimate, and on and on and on. Open and poly relationships are therefore contra indicated by any risk mitigation strategy. Is that geeky/nerdy enough for you.
Live long and prosper
@17: I think what she was saying was more about the awkwardness of trying to talk to your poly girlfriends about your new boyfriend when the new boyfriend has dated half of them and they're either currently together or have broken up.

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