PoMo Freakshow

Jul 312011

Kestryl: Sassafras, take a break from g-chatting with your butchfriend! We need to write our couples blog, err, um, our relationship blog.

Sassafras: Nice catch!

Kestryl: Huh? Are we fishing?

Sassafras: No, I was talking about your self-correction of “couple” vs. “relationship.”

Kestryl: Oh yeah, well, when I say ‘couple’ people don’t realize that we’re poly.

Sassafras: Somehow people never realize that we’re poly.

Kestryl: Isn’t it obvious?

Sassafras: I think we confuse people because we’re not dramatic.

Though we’ve mentioned, in passing, in previous columns that our relationship is both deeply committed and polyamorous, we realized we’ve never publicly discussed what our dynamic looks like.  While, in general, any single polyamorous relationship isn’t the business of anyone other than the parties involved in it, as part of our commitment to improving queer relationships throughout the world, we’ve decided to devote this week’s column to discussing how poly works for us (and how it could work for you! 😉 )

Sassafras: A winky face? Really? Are you flirting?

Kestryl : With our entire readership ;).

Sassafras: Oh boy.

Kestryl: Don’t worry, it’s just flirting. I’ve got my hands full.

Sasafras: You certainly do. We both do, in really good ways.

Kestryl: Now you’re just bragging.

Sassafras: Well….. I wouldn’t call it bragging, just celebrating.

Kestryl: Well, as we’ve said before… there is always something to celebrate.

We can’t really speak to the challenges that come with turning a monogamous relationship poly (or turning a poly relationship monogamous, for that matter) because we’ve poly  since we hooked up at that drag show over 7 years ago now.  What poly has looked like for us has ebbed and flowed, depending on each of our respective time, interest, energy, and available hotties.  Our own negotiations and boundaries have shifted over time as well.

Of course, there are as many different ways to be poly as there are poly identified folks.  For us, polyamory works because we think it’s unrealistic to expect one other person to fulfill everything we could ever want from a relationship.  We tend to each have fliratations, hookups, flings, or relationships with other people, but we have never pursued triads or shared lovers.  At this point, we’re each involved with someone long-distance—Kestryl has a European girlfriend,  and Sassafras is smitten with hir butchfriend on the West Coast.  In some ways, our additional realtionships being with people in other cities makes poly easier, though in other ways it adds complications that don’t come up with a local paramour.

Sassafras: You really love that word.

Kestryl: What, paramour?

Sassafras: Yes.

Kestryl: It’s a good word!

Sassafras: It makes me think of “paranormal,” and that that makes it sound like I’m dating  a vampire.

Kestryl: Or an alien!

Sassafras: Right, which ze’s not.  Hence: dumb word.

A lot of our tips for a poly relationship are things that we’ve already blogged about, that apply to any relationship: keep it cute, celebrate your lovers, and find ways to stay connected regardless of distance (ask Kestryl about hir international texting plan) and communicate, communicate, communicate.   As you might have noticed, communication is very important.  If you think it takes a lot of processing to have a healthy mamogomous relationship, fasten your seatbelt because a healthy poly relationship requires exponentially more–but in our opinion, the benefits are worth it.

Kestryl: I don’t know that it actually requires more communication.

Sassafras: I think it does.

Kestryl: But, if you think about it…In a monogamous relationship, after going out, you spend hours processing ‘did you flirt with that girl at the bar!?’ Whereas, in a poly relationship, you spend hours processing ‘so, what can I do with that girl I flirted with at the bar??’ It’s a queer relationship, the processing is a given.

Sassafras: That makes sense, I guess. We queers do like our processing in general.

Of course (before you even get to processing what you can do with the girl you flirted with at the bar), for a poly relationship to really work, it’s vital that you start with a negotiation of where your basic boundaires are: when it’s ok to flirt, when it’s ok to get a number, when it’s ok to make out , when it’s ok to go on a date, etc.  We have a word document that outlines what our basic boundaires are. It’s a word doc and not a pdf, because it’s a living document that we revisit every six months and alter to fit what makes sense to both of us in our relationship, and add anything that we’ve come up with to address situations that we had not previously anticipated.  It’s a short document, just about a page long– easy to remember, and not overwhelming to update, but it covers just about everything that is important for our boundaries.

Of course, no matter how thorough you are when you initially negotiate your poly relationship, you will somewhere down the line run into something that you had not anticipated. Part of successful communication is being able to work together to negotiate how the unanticipated situation fits in to your existing negotiations.  You might have different boundaries and negotiations for what happens locally vs what happens when you’re traveling, what forms of involvment  you are available for, etc.  Solid communication about boundaries and expectations is important for everyone–not just you and your partner(s)–but also anyone else you may be involved with.  A commitment to good communication helps everyone to know where they stand.

Kestryl: Remember that one girl I dated who thought poly was a waiting list?

Sassafras: She was really mad that I ‘jumped in line.’

Kestryl: She didn’t understand that it wasn’t a line, that’s not the point.

Sassafras: I know, that was unfortunate.

Kestryl: My own communication could have been better then, I suppose I learned that from her.

This brings us to another aspect of  poly relationships: you will make mistakes. Feelings will get hurt–not necessarily any more than they would in any other relationship, and not in a way that a commitment to solid communication can’t mitigate, BUT: jealousy will happen, and sometimes feelings will get stepped on.  In order to minimize the possibility for hurt feelings, we try to be particularly attentive in our negotiation to the logistics of  adding an additional relationship into one of our lives, in terms of costs in time and energy, as well as discussing what we want from additional involvements, how jealousy impacts us, and how we each best deal with the green eyed monster.

Any of these aspects of poly relationships that weve touched on–negotiations, boundaries, jealousy–could (and possibly should) merit blog posts all their own, as could a more in-depth discussion on communication strategies particular to poly relationships. We will be revisting all these topics in future columns, and we’re happy to consider any specific questions from you, our readers, as well!

Jul 032011

Kestryl: What do you want in your omelette?

Sassafras: Cheddar and onions.

Kestryl: Regular onions or green onions?

Sassafras: Green ones.

Kestryl: I could have guessed that’s what you were going to say.

Sassafras: I know what I like!

Kestryl: And we’re kinda creatures of habit…

Sassafras: I’m a Taurus.

Kestryl: What does that have to do with it?!

Sassafras: I like stability…. In my omelette.

This week, we’re thinking about routines in relationships–and not just for the earth signs!  As we’ve talked about before, surprises and spontaneity are an important part of keeping a relationship interesting, but rituals and routines also play an important role in sustaining our partnership.

The brunch Kestryl made while we wrote this blog.

In some ways, we’re creatures of habit, or at least we look like it if you look at some of our recurring routines.  This blog is a great example. We’ve discovered that we write best together over brunch, and by “over brunch,” we don’t mean sitting at a restaurant somewhere in Park Slope. We mean that Kestryl stands in the kitchen and dices scallions and beats eggs, and Sassafras sits at the kitchen table, laptop open to type up the ensuing conversation. We’ve tried different ways to write: in the park, on the couch… all without much success. Sometimes, once you find something that works, you need to keep it and not try to change it up.

Kestryl: Things don’t get boring though.

Sassafras: I’m never bored.

Kestryl: I mean, it would be hard to get bored living with a dinosaur.

Sassafras: I am a dinosaur.

Kestryl: Yes, that’s what I was saying.

Sassafras: Ohhhhhh, yeah, I tend to make life pretty interesting.

Kestryl: I think it’s that we lead such busy lives, we need the routines and rituals in order to really have a relationship.   You don’t want spinach in your omelette, do you?

Sassafras: EWWWWW no.

It can be hard to really make time for a relationship between friends, work, art, community, etc. There are a lot of competeing demands for your time, energy and attention. But, a relationship –while it requires attention–doesn’t have to be all consuming. Relationships are built out of all of the small actions you do for each other and/or together. For us, routines are a big part of what grounds our relationship, providing each of us with the stability we need in order to take on the less predictable parts of the world.   This doesn’t mean that our relationship or the acts that build it are wholly predictable, but you can’t have spontaneity unless you have something regular that you are departing from.

Many of our routines are the small acts that build our home.  For example, Kestryl makes a home-cooked dinner nearly every night. We make a point, no matter how busy we are, to eat dinner together practically every night of the week (and then do the dishes together afterwards!).  We block out Saturday mornings in our schedules to go grocery shopping together. The queers working at the Brooklyn Trader Joes always get a little worried when one of us is on tour and our schedule departs from normal. Sassafras is a morning person, and has Kestryl’s coffee ready and lunch packed by the time ze is out of the shower on every weekday that one of us isn’t on the road. For us, these are not only practical- after all everyone needs to eat– but are also ways we know we can depend on each other and small routines that reaffirm our relationship.

Kestryl: Gee, listening to this you would think all of our rituals are about food.

Sassafras: You do like to cook.

Kestryl: Right, and I guess food is one of those primal things.

Sassafras: GRAREARE (primal dinosaur noises).

Kestryl: We must have some rituals that aren’t food based though.

Sassafras: We do!

Kestryl: I mean, more than eating does happen in our relationship…. I think 😉

Sasssafras: I just SAID, we do have rituals that aren’t about food!

Kestryl: Clearly they are so routine that I don’t even realize that we have them…

Sassafras: Oh yeah? I thought your boots looked pretty nice last week at dyke march!

Dinosaurs and boots.

One area of our life where routine passes into the realm of ritual is a more explicit part of our leather-based power exchange.  Before big events where we want to look our best (and on an ongoing basis), Sassafras is responsible for keeping Kestryl’s boots polished and in good repair. Beyond this, on a daily basis, Sassafras puts Kestryl’s boots on for hir when ze is leaving the house, and removes them when ze returns home (provided that both are present at the time of departure and/or arrival- there is plenty of flexibility here. Kestryl does not wait around in boots for Sassafras to get home from work two hours later in order to remove them).  For Sassafras, the service and ritual involved in these interactions is particularly grounding and reaffirming of hir place  and how nurtured and contained ze is.  For Kestryl, the ritual is a part of preparing to leave the comforts of home and face the world, and re-entering the home when the boots come off.

We believe that rituals and routines are important for building stability in any ongoing relationship. An crucial part of creating routines is making sure that you don’t create a situation where anyone feels bored or trapped (remember to keep it cute). Routines and rituals look different for every relationship, and they develop organically in most.  Spend some time talking with your partner(s) to figure out what you are already doing, what’s important to continue, and what (if anything) you would like to build.

Jun 192011

Kestryl: How about that question about fights?

Sassafras: Do we have to talk about not-cute things?

Kestryl: Well… no healthy relationship is cute all the time.

Sassafras: Can we at least be cute while we’re doing it?

Dinosaurs also experience conflict in their relationships. Crayon drawing by Sassafras Lowrey.

So, a few readers have written to say that they love all the cute relationship tips that have shown up in this blog, but they are curious about how to deal with conflict in relationship… which, admittedly, is not very cute.  Trying to make conflict cute, say by pulling out a finger puppet  in the middle of a fight, rarely leads to a speedy resolution.

Dealing with conflict is all about how you communicate as a couple, and a big part of weathering the storms and squabbles of any relationship is figuring out what you and your partner(s) want and need. It’s also about figuring out exactly what it is that you are fighting about. This sounds self-evident, but you’d be amazed to find how many times you think you’re fighting about who didn’t put the laundry away, when you are actually fighting about someone’s rough day at work, or resentment over a missed phone call. Figuring out what you are fighting about isn’t necessarily something you can do while tempers are flaring.  This is why one of the most important parts of dealing with conflict in a relationship is to not just communicate about your fights, but also about how you fight… and to have those conversations when you’re not already fighting.

Kestryl: We process so much.

Sassafras: That’s because I’m a lesbian.

Kestryl: How did I skip the lesbian phase?

Sassafras: I’m helping you to discover it now. There is nothing better than a good process session.

Kestryl: It could be an Olympic sport!  But to be clear… one doesn’t need to identify as a lesbian to win a gold medal in processing!

Fight (this is a dramatization, with cuteness enhanced). Photo by Syd London.

Of course, you have to be aware of when you’re trying to process your fights and communicate. For instance, it’s probably not a good idea to try to figure out what this afternoon’s fight was about when it’s 2am and you’re both trying to fall asleep.  It’s also seldom a good plan to begin an in-depth process session right before heading to work, or leaving on tour.  Being aware of the scope and magnitude of what needs to be addressed is a component in figuring out how much time and energy it will take to unpack. For example, your sweetie forgetting to pick up the organic kale  on their way home from work may not require a marathon processing session (though it totally could, if it’s indicative of more systemic problems). For bigger conflicts and busy schedules, we’ve found it actually helps to schedule time to process after a fight.  This helps us to be sure that we actually address what happened, instead of just sweeping it aside and letting the anger, annoyance, and hurt feelings ferment into a deeper resentment.

Sassafras: Did I mention we are big lesbians? Seriously, we just confessed to scheduling processing time.

Kestryl: Hey, whatever it takes! Oh, and a caveat: I’m not sure I actually identify with the word ‘lesbian’… even though I sometimes act like one.

Sassafras: True that.

Ok, so you have your processing date scheduled, the soy lattes are on the table, and you and your partner(s) are cooled down and ready to confront whatever conflict is making life more interesting.  What now?  For us, it helps to start by talking about the objective details of what happened, and how it made each of us feel. The classic “I statements” go a long way. Conversely, actively listening is just as important as speaking from your experience and not making accusations.  Try to figure out what the conflict was, what is important to you in your relationship, and what specifically needs to be resolved. Keeping this kind of focus on the present issue and not dragging up how your sweetie didn’t clean the litter box one time three months ago is key to actually resolving the fight and moving forward in a mutually satisfying relationship.  In other words, know when to let it go.

Sassafras: There was that one time you didn’t clean the litter box.

Kestryl: Last time I checked, the litter box was your job.

Sassafras: No, I mean when we first moved in together, and the cats hadn’t accepted me as their step-parent yet.

Kestryl: Are there any other lesbian sterotypes we can fit into this blog?

Even dinosaurs need to communicate after a fight. Crayon drawing by Sassafras Lowrey.

When you’re processing a fight, make time to explore the ways in which you actually interact during conflict. Talk about what works, what doesn’t work, and why.  Many fights escalate because you have different ways of dealing with conflict, and haven’t found a mutually satisfactory compromise.  Figure out ways of fighting that feel okay for both (or all) of you.  For example, in conflict, Kestryl’s natural reaction is to go for a solo walk to create space, in order to allow everyone the opportunity to cool down,  gather thoughts, and sort through emotions so someone doesn’t say something they don’t mean while tempers are flaring.  Conversely, Sassafras–who has been walked out on several past lovers–finds being alone in the house after that door closes immensely difficult…even while knowing that Kestryl will come back.  The compromise we came to many years ago is that to create a space for both of us to cool down, Kestryl will go to another room (usually hir office) instead of leaving the house, but that Sassafras has to respect the space and distance that Kestryl has created and not follow and continue the disagreement.  This gives us both the opportunity to let go of the immediate fight and take care of what we need, while respecting the other’s needs as well.

Conflict is not fun, but knowing how to deal with it is crucial to any healthy relationship. Staying tuned in to what’s important and what’s worth fighting for in your relationship will go a long way.

Jun 052011

Sassafras: I’m sure glad you’re home.

Kestryl: Yeah! A week ago I was on the world’s longest flight inside a leprechaun.

Sassafras: Well, it was AerLingus!

Kestryl: I hadn’t expected it to be completely green inside…

Sassafras: I can’t handle how dirty this is!  Well I can, but I wish I’d been there.

Kestryl: It does suck when we have to travel alone.

Sassafras: But it does mean we have good stories to tell each other later!!!

Unfortunately, family cannot be stowed in the overhead compartment.

For this week’s installment of our couple’s blog series, we’re going to talk all about keeping it hot while you’re far apart. As touring artists, we spend a significant amount of time away from home, and often away from each other. It can be a challenge for any couple to find ways to stay connected in the busy world when you’re off doing the awesome work that you do, and still wanting to be awesome to your significant other(s).

One of the most important keys to staying connected to one another is being clear about what that connection looks like.  As stereotypically lesbian as it sounds, we make a point of communicating about our communication, especially around travel. There is nothing worse than being away from your partner(s) and discovering that you have completely different expectations for what “staying in touch” looks like for the days or weeks that you are not together. For one person, staying reasonably connected might just look like a daily text message, while the other wants phone calls every morning and night. It’s better to figure this out ahead of time and be able to negotiate something that will make both (or all) of you feel connected– so you’re not dealing with melt-downs in hotel rooms when you’re 3,000 miles away from each other with bad cell connections.  Absence may make the heart grow fonder, but it also makes the fights more volatile.

Kestryl: You like talking on the phone a lot more than I do.

Sassafras: …which makes me really appreciate the effort you make to call me when one of us is on the road.

Kestryl: It really helps now that I have a hands-free thing and I can be doing other stuff while we talk.  I have trouble just sitting on the phone.

Sassafras: It’s sort of a game for me to guess what it is that you’re doing while talking to me- dishes? Walking the dog? Eating? Sometimes I’m not sure.

Kestryl: I’m better with text messages.

Sassafras: Really? I think I text more than you do.

Kestryl: I wasn’t’ saying that I texted more, just that it’s what I prefer.

Sassafras: I like to send you texts about everything I’m doing on the road, sometimes with pictures.

Kestryl: And I appreciate that more than phone calls.

Sassafras: I just don’t want you to miss anything!!!

Kestryl: Trust me, I don’t.

Sassafras: I know! Because I document all of it, right down to my national search for  the worst pad thai in America.

A particularly important part of communicating before travel for people in poly relationships (though maybe monogamous folks could take something away from this too) is to specifically negotiate boundaries for while you are apart.  Even if your boundaries are  long-term and set, it can be good to check in and revisit them before heading off for a trip. Some couples have different boundaries for out of their home radius (the “hundred mile rule” for instance) and others have different expectations for disclosure relating to any sort of making out or hooking up that happens on the road or at conferences.  Even if you’re not expecting to meet someone hot while you’re off being fabulous, it’s always better to be prepared.

Kestryl: I knew I was going to be looking up the queer scene in Utrecht and wanted to be particularly clear on what our boundaries and expectations were around international flirtations.

Sassafras: You were going to the underground queer disco, of course I knew you were going to be cruising.

Kestryl: All I’m saying is that Utrecht has some damn fine queers.

Sassafras: That’s all your saying because you’re a gentlemanly sort of butch.

Kestryl: I don’t believe in locker room talk!

Regardless of if you’re “making new friends,” or pining away until you get home again, it helps during travel to plan little things for your sweetie(s) back home to keep you feeling connected.  It’s equally as important to make an effort to do little things for the person on the road away from home, pets, and all other comforts of your daily life together.  Once before a particularly difficult tour, Kestryl made a multi-part nested love letter for Sassafras with each day’s installment sealed up inside the previous day’s.  Doing little things doesn’t need to cost a lot of money, or be extravagant.  It’s more about an attention to detail and knowing what will make your partner(s) feel loved and connected to you.

Sassafras: You did lots of squishy things for me when you were in Europe last week.

Kestryl: You always send me off with surprises in my luggage that make me terrified that the airport security is going to do something with it. I’ve learned to say no one has tampered with my luggage because I’ve decided that you don’t count.

Sassafras: Do crayon and glitter covered notes count as “tampering” anyway?

Kestryl: Fair point. But it’s always fun to explain that the metal showing up on the scanner is JUST glitter.

Monster preparing to fly!

It doesn’t have to just be notes and surprises that you plan beforehand either. Before Kestryl left for Europe, Sassafras gave hir a monster finger-puppet (it was part of a larger thank you to the three folks who have been instrumentally supportive of hir around the Lammys). Kestryl then decided to photodocument the monster’s tour of Utrecht and email daily photos back of the finger-puppet checking in at the airport, looking out the airplane window, meeting gargoyles, and visiting canals. Things like this are sweet reminders that even if we’re not together, we’re in each other’s thoughts.

May 212011

Raptor, not Rapture

Kestryl: Sassafras, lets write the blog. Quit telling Facebook what’s happening in our kitchen.

Sassafras: I was simply saying we’d told enough rapture stories – I’m still waiting to see a dinosaur!!!

Kestryl: Sassafras. it’s a rapture, not a raptor.  And anyways, it didn’t happen.

So, for those of you who are still with us,  welcome to the second installment of the yet to be titled PoMo Freakshow relationship advice column/blog series.  We’ve been a little delayed in writing this one, and not because we were worried about the rapture and/or raptor (but that would have been a great excuse).  Actually, we’ve been busy with a lot of celebrations this month, and fittingly, that was our planned topic for this blog post.

Sassafras: It was my birthday.

Kestryl: Yes, Sassafras, it was.

Sassafras: It was lots of other things, too.

Kestryl: Are we doing this part as an exchange? I don’t know how I feel about that. At some point it just starts sounding like a gimmick.

Sassafras: But what if it really happened??

Kestryl: The rapture or the gimmick?

Sassafras: This conversation.

Kestryl: Moving on.

Something that we’ve found is essential in sustaining  a relationship has been finding things to celebrate together.  This isn’t just about going out to dinner to celebrate a success at work, or a new performance or publication, but also creating holidays and celebrations that you observe on a reccuring basis. The most obvious of these is celebrating an anniversary, but we think there’s a lot more that you can do.

Sassafras: Like have four anniversaries.

Kestryl: Do we have four anniversaries?

Sassafras: Of course we do: anniversary, partyverary, chalking, leatherversary.

Kestryl: Oh yeah, I guess I don’t think of all of those as anniversaries… Just as days. That we remember. On an an annual basis…. Hm. I guess that’s the definition of an anniversary.

Sassafras: Pretty much.

For us, one anniversary just wouldn’t cut it. Like any relationship, our partnership has grown and changed over the years that we’ve been together, and we think it’s important to commemorate different milestones. Having our relationship evolve over time doesn’t change the other days that have their own significance. We’ve never understood couples that give up their original anniversary when they get married, or commitment ceremonied, or domestic partnered, or u-hauled, or whatever kids are calling it these days. Essentially, we believe in MORE celebrating, not less, and the more a relationship grows, the more there is to celebrate.

Sassafras: In our case, our anniversary is the day that we got together.

Kestryl: It’s the day that we really met, we didn’t get together together until the next day.

Sassafras: I still think it’s the day that we got together- I turned down a ride home to keep hanging out with you, even though you didn’t kiss me.

Kestryl: A gentleman doesn’t kiss on the first date.

Sassafras: First of all, that means you think it was the first date- so I win.  Second of all, I ain’t no lady.

Our other anniversaries are other significant days in our relationship which include: our ‘partyvesary,’ which was when we didn’t get married (contrary to what ½ of the guests thought), ‘chalking,’ which was the day when Kestryl kind of proposed to Sassafras – we were activists working on a local queer campaign and were up at 5am chalking pro-homo messages on a college campus when ze got, shall we say, inspired.  Our leatherversary marks the day when power in our relationship shifted from a play/scene dynamic to a 24/7 negotiated exchange. We don’t have a big celebration for each significant day– some we acknowledge with small gestures, and others we celebrate with a bit more flair.

Kestryl: Anniversaries aren’t the only thing to celebrate.

Sassafras: I like cake.

Kestryl: To be clear: we don’t have cake for every celebration.

Sassafras: Maybe we should.

Celebrations can take lots of forms. They aren’t all relationship markers, and they don’t all require cake.  Taking the time to commemorate significant things that have happened over the course of your relationship keeps you grounded in your relationship’s history and values, and helps you to build its future.  Another celebration that we observe is what we call our New York-iversary

Sassafras: Which is when we became monogamous with New York.

Kestryl: Monogamous? How about ‘long term committed primary partners?’ We’re still allowed to see other cities. You’ve been known to flirt with Atlanta.

Sometimes, balloons and streamers are a good idea.

And then there are birthdays. One thing to remember in any celebration (or relationship in general) is that what’s good for one person isn’t always good for the other(s). Just because you would love a streamer-festooned, balloon filled birthday, does not necessarily mean that your significant other(s) would be similarly delighted.  Making a celebration meaningful means really doing your research and figuring out what your partner(s) want, and what will fill them with glee or joy on a special day. When you’re both doing this for each other on shared days, the result can be euphoric.

*Note: Thanks to everyone who has been sending in your relationship questions. We intend to respond and are still working out how that’s going to work in with the rest of our blog series/column/whatever it is.  Please keep sending questions and know that we are reading and thinking about them and will be responding soon!

May 012011

Sassafras: How do we start?

Kestryl: I don’t know.

Sassafras: Ok, how about: “Hey y’all!”

Kestryl: “Y’all?!”

Sassafras: I say that all the time.

Kestryl: I don’t.

Sassafras: Fine.

Hey everyone, PoMo Freakshow here, with an exciting announcement about a new blog series that we’re debuting.

Kestryl: Is it a blog series or is it a column?

Sassafras: It’s on the web.

Kestryl: Does that make it a blog? What’s the definition? How about, blog/column?

Sassafras: Fine.

Hey everyone, PoMo Freakshow here with an exciting announcement about a new blog/column

Kestryl: No, I was wrong, that sounds dumb. Really. Let’s go back to series.

Sassafras: Fine.

Hey everyone, PoMo freakshow here, with an exciting announcement about our new blog series all about love, sex, and relationships.

Kestryl: Should it say queer? This is pretty queer. I mean I guess straight people could probably get something out of it too, but it’s really queer. I think that should be there, that we’re big old homos.

Sassafras: Do straight people even read our site?

Kestryl: Google Analytics doesn’t tell me. Was that alienating? Sorry straight readers (if you’re out there).

Sassafras : Fair enough.

Photo by Syd London.

Photo by Syd London.

So this is our new blog series all about queer love, sex, and relationships. The idea for it came after a whole bunch of our friends, and folks that we meet on the road  approached us asking  1) how we do it (the relationship part – not so much the sex) and 2) how  they can do it too.  In addition to being artistic partners here at PoMo Freakshow, we are “partners in life” and have been together for what will be 7 years this Pride Season (yes, we got together during Pride. We will tell you the full story when you’re older).   We’ve both had our fair share of unsuccessful, unethical, and downright abusive relationships, so when we got together we knew pretty well what didn’t work.  We’ve also watched friends struggle through more bad relationships than we can count.

Over the last seven years, we’ve spent a lot of time figuring out what does work, and now we want to pass along what we’ve learned to all of you. We decided to start this blog series because we really want to see more queers in relationships that are vital, fulfilling, and meaningful to them–whatever form that takes.  We’re not trying to be prescriptive, and we’re not pretending that what works for us will work for everyone else.

You might be wondering why we think we’re qualified to write about this, other than the ‘being together for seven years,’ which we’ve been told is the equivalent of “forever” in queer years. Neither of us are professional relationship counselors or therapists. We’re just two crusty queer kids that found each other, grew up, and built something beautiful along the way.

Kestryl: So lets tell them about what we’ve built.

Sassafras: Where do we start?

Here’s a brief overview of our relationship: As we mentioned earlier, we’ve been together for about seven years. We’ve lived together for six of those, including a cross-country move. We’re poly (more about what that looks like for us in a later post), and we exist in a conscious negotiated power dynamic (more on that later, too).  We’re not going to say that the only successful way to have a long term committed queer relationship is to be poly and in a leather dynamic, but we think there are things that work for us that will work for other relationship formations as well.

Kestryl: So now we’ve done the polite thing and introduced ourselves.

Sassafras: We like manners and etiquette.

Kestryl: Other than when we don’t.

Sassafras: Maybe we should start the relationship stuff.

Kestryl: Oh, you mean actually give people advice?

Sassafras: Something like that.

One key  we’ve found to keeping a relationship healthy, functioning, and hot is taking care of each other. This doesn’t just mean making soup when someone’s sick, or helping them put their air conditioner in.  It’s also all the little things that let the person or persons that you’re with know that you’re thinking about them, and that you care. It can be small and simple—

Sassafras: I like to leave Kestryl little notes and drawings all over the house, often featuring dinosaurs.

Kestryl: Yes you do….and they are adorable…and  this is the point where I feel the need to tell our readers that we’re going to endeavor to not make them  throw up in their mouths.

Dandelion chains in Prospect Park.

The caretaking can be of a more practical nature too such as making dinner (which Kestryl does frequently) or whimsical like a spontaneous spin on the carousel in the park. Taking care of each other, mentally physically, and emotionally is what feeds a relationship. It’s not just about doing cute things when you first get together, but making the other’s well-being, amusement and joy an everyday concern.

Kestryl: Didn’t we talk about this while we were outlining in the park? What do we have in the notes?

Sassafras: Notes? You made me a daisy chain.

Kestryl: You are never going to be our note taker ever again.

Sassafras: I’m cute!!!!

And folks, we’re out of time.  Catch us in two weeks for our next installment. We will be bringing you anecdotes, relationship tips, and answers to your questions.  If you have a question, just email it to sassafras@pomofreakshow.com and/or kestryl@pomofreakshow.com and we’ll consider it for a future post!

Til then—keep it cute!

Jun 122008



PoMo Freakshow (Kestryl Cael and Sassafras Lowrey) will be performing as part of HOT! The 17th Annual Celebration of Queer Culture! at Dixon Place!


We will be performing a piece which is currently in development, Traitors without (T)reason, on JULY 14, 2008 at 8:00 p.m.



Don’t miss it.


Tickets will be $15.00 general / $12.00 students and seniors

Tickets are available online at dixonplace.org or at the door.




Stay tuned for more details, or check out Traitors without (T)reason in the PERFORMANCES section of this site!

Apr 192008

Announcing new collaborative work from Kestryl Cael and Sassafras!

Now officially in development, we have a new project titled Traitors without (T)reason:

You’re either with us or against us. The division is knee-jerk, with the marriage-craving mainstream lesbian and gay population on one side, and the queers seeking radical change on the other. The opposition is fiery, an inter-community battle that starkly divides a world into two camps. Crossing from one to the other, even temporarily, is hypocritical, tantamount to treason.

As a queer couple that passes as straight more often than we would like to admit, our performance seeks to perforate automatic attributions of privilege and complicate the community-enforced borders of queerness. Using movement, monologue, vignette, interaction, and a bit of personal experience, Traitors without (T)reason explores the themes of betrayal, privilege, invisibility, sacrifice, subversion, and loss that are inextricably tied into public passing.

Keep watching here for updates on when and where you’ll be able to see this exciting new collaborative piece!

Jan 262008

Welcome to PoMo Freakshow! This is where you should check back for news and updates about us as a whole— Kestryl Cael and Sassafras each have their own NEWS sections as well, on their own pages.