After all the heartache of the election and Mr. Makeout Music, I decided that my poly self needed to be as spoiled as possible, so I decided to make the Big Poly Conference into a mini-vacation. For the first time ever, I had my own room, and I planned to alternate learning and socializing with swimming and lounging around by myself. I stocked my mini-fridge with good sandwich stuff and strawberries and brought a Valentine heart of chocolate and Amy Schumer’s memoir. I packed two bathing suits, new pajamas, and cute underpants.
After the various fuckups of my past poly adventures, I was a little nervous about all the reuniting, but before the keynote address even started, The Recurring Character sat down next to me and said “Welcome back!” so I thought it might be okay.
Per Fireguy’s instructions, I was more there to make friends and reconnect with my poly self than to flirt, but I glanced around the assembly to see if anyone caught my fancy, and someone did. He wasn’t even in the room yet, he was still out in the hall getting checked in, and I thought “Jeez I hope he likes girls.” He was tall, broad and looked authoritative and also like he might know everyone there. As tends to be my preference these days, he was African American. I basically had to have him.
I found him after the talk. (Which was about diversity and inclusiveness but was given by a skinny, straight, able, cis white woman.) (Whom I adore, but come on…) He was standing around with a mutual friend, everyone trading stories about their respective Woman’s Marches. I found an excuse to high-five him (I love high-fiving so much.) and we struck up a conversation. Like the third thing he said to me was “Do you hug?” After months of feeling like I was Entirely Too Much around Mr. Makeout Music, that question was a balm, and yes, of course I hug, and this was one of my favorite hugs of all time.
It’s these moments when I want to start talking about that Energy thing that I don’t quite believe in but always that I seem to be able to feel. Wrapped up in his big strong arms, I forgot all the sadness and heartbreak, all of the trying to be less than I am. I felt accepted and I felt blessed. I was going to need to keep hugging him. I learned that he’d just finished his doctorate so I’ve decided to call him The Professor.
The next time I saw him, I was headed out after a somewhat-harrowing workshop on intersectionality. The Professor had his arms around a tall, cuddly, prettily-intimidating woman, but he reached out and pulled me into their hug. It felt like what life is supposed to be like, warm and beautiful and bi.
After Kind Ma’am went off to talk with some other people, The Professor sat down and I snuggled into his lap. I made apologetic noises to one of the women from the workshop (my whole strategy as an activist and an ally is to always be ready to apologize) and he said all kinds of encouraging, comforting things that my heart had been waiting broken-white-lady decades to hear. In no universe was it his job to take care of me in those feelings, but he did, and it was wildly generous.
We exchanged phone numbers, emails, mailing addresses. I wrote mine on one of the many Pokémon Valentines I’d brought for just such a purpose. We kissed lightly and sweetly and hugged goodbye and I walked into the next workshop with a happy dance and an “I got a GOOD phone number!”
Instead of meeting anyone for dinner, I had a little introvert party--went swimming on my own and then ate dinner in bed, listening to the Bunhead Bros podcast. (It’s by the same guys who did all those three-to-five-hour Gilmore Girls recaps, can’t get enough. Okay I did get enough during the revival, but still.)
Joy of joys, The Professor texted and asked what I was doing with my evening, and we agreed to meet up at the Cuddle Party. I was very glad I’d brought cute soft new purple flower pajamas. I COULD NOT WAIT to get cuddled.