“You like coffee! I like coffee, too! We must be soul mates and spend all of our time together!” — A wise online friend with whom I really oughta make a coffee date.
I’ve noticed among the various online perverts a certain tendency. If we’re sexual deviants, it’s not unusual to expect that to come along with a sheaf of assumptions about other similarities.
A guest column was recently scolded because someone got some queer colloquial language “wrong”. From a scientific point of view, some incorrectly-applied terms have developed other meanings through subculture usage. In the tradition of the Good Editor, I’m gonna stand up for the author here. The author was using the expressions in the technical, rather than jargon, sense and was using them absolutely correctly. I would have accepted either technical or colloquial if the meaning seemed obvious from context.
Friends, just because one is poly, or lesbian, or whatever, does not necessarily mean that everyone in the pervert community is necessarily going to agree with you on all subjects of language, politics and religion. It certainly does not mean that the person is going to be up on the minutiae of technical terminology you might you for your own relationships.
The implication was that if you’re not up on all of this, then you’re not supposed to be writing these columns.
Hell, I only learned that “beard” is an expression for a female companion of a homosexual man who does not care to make his homosexuality known about a month ago! I know the handkerchief code exists, but I’ve no idea what means what. So, you guys that think that people that aren’t up on all the jargon should just stop reading this column now. I’m constantly running across new language and new concepts.
Things that are big and obvious to you and your life might not necessarily be so to everyone’s. I cannot count the times that someone who is pagan will become poly and think that every poly person they meet is not only pagan, but their brand of pagan using exactly their terminology1.
I suppose I find it funniest because I used to run across that sort of thing from church to church as well. In-groups develop their own language, but often forget that they are often relatively small in-groups. They begin to think that their way of thinking is somehow the right way to think. In a community as diverse as the polyamory community, this can become a little problematic.
I’m not saying that language and defintion don’t matter. I’m a writer, for God’s sake! Words and their meanings matter a great deal in my line of work. But assuming that if one calls oneself polyamorous that one is necessarily going to approach things as you do or have the same attitudes isn’t going to be very productive to you in the long run.
1If you’re of the slightest mischievous frame of mind, this can become an endless source of entertainment as well.