This is part 1 of an open letter to folks who attend my Poly Pool Parties. With all the different places I announce the events these days, it’s hard to make sure that folks actually see something like this. So I figured I’d park it here on my blog for easy access. Enjoy!
PS: Happy Bisexual Awareness Week! Are you doing anything fun to celebrate?
Dear Weirdness/poly/open/non-mono friends:
As you may have noticed, I’ve been having more than our usual number of Poly Pool Parties this season (due in part to there being some question as to whether I’ll still OWN the house next summer…; the next one is THIS SATURDAY 9/27; RSVP here!). So maybe the extra parties are why I’m having extra “issues.” Maybe. Or maybe it’s just that a) the parties have been opened to a wider audience in recent years, and b) it’s been a while since I’ve really discussed both safety and consent, and how they apply to this event.
First and foremost, I’d like to encourage everyone to read — or re-read — the PPP Frequently Asked Questions (http://bit.ly/oVjQra). There’s a lot of important information in there that we’ve codified in the 17 years (!) that we’ve been running this event. It would really help me if you’d all actually… you know… READ it. 🙂
Over the next couple of days, I’d like to address three related issues: I) Physical Safety, II) Consent, and III) Emotional Safety/comfort. Today I’m covering Physical Safety (at the PPPs in particular.)
Pools are inherently dangerous, yo. That’s why we ask that you read the FAQ, and Sign the Waiver, and why we make you check those annoying little boxes to confirm that yes, you did that. Those things are for OUR safety (the hosts), of course. But making sure that you’re AWARE of the dangers is part of ensuring YOUR safety. At the July party we actually had someone go a$$ over teakettle in the shallow end, get tangled up in the pool noodles, and end up gulping some water before getting turned right side up. That was pretty scary, both for them, and for us. Honestly, it was the first time in 17 years. Nevertheless, we could have happily done without it EVER happening. In subsequent discussion online, there were some questions raised about whether we were doing all that could be done to ensure the safety of our guests. I’d like to point out a few things, and make a couple of requests.
A) I’d like to assure everyone (me included!) that our guest was never in serious danger of drowning. The pool water is clear (an advantage over a lake or stream); people around were almost immediately aware of the issue; and several stood ready to help at the point that help became necessary. They hung back for a moment, thinking — correctly, I believe — that intervening too soon might be more trouble than help, and to allow our guest to right himself (which he did). But at least 6 people in the immediate vicinity were ready to step in to assist our guest in getting right side up, out of the pool, and with other rescue measures if necessary.
B) But not being in serious danger doesn’t mean not being in ANY danger. Which brings me to the requests.
1) Be aware of your own water skill level. If you really can’t swim, please stay out of the deep end. That means avoiding the left side of the stairs, too, next to the hot tub, where the pool drops off quite suddenly. The curvature of the pool means that there’s a “shallow ledge” around the East side, opposite of the hot tub, so hanging out near the edge of the pool on that side can be helpful as well.
2) Please be mindful of other guests, especially those close to you. Notice where they are, and how they’re doing. Someone alone in the deep end could be in far more serious trouble more quickly than was our guest in the shallow end. And if you’re sitting outside of the pool chatting, it would be great if you could be aware of anyone in the pool appearing to be in distress. If we all watch out for each other, we make things safer for everyone.
3) If you have water rescue and/or basic First Aid/CPR training, and are willing to help out in the event of an emergency, I’d love to know that. Please bring it to the attention of one or more of the hosts (the ones wearing the glowing headbands) at the start of the party. Thank you, and hopefully these skills will never be needed!
4) To encourage a high degree of community safety, I’ll be hosting Jay Wiseman to give another of his First Aid/CPR courses (which he does on a donation basis for our communities), so our most regular hosts and anyone else who is interested can get current on this important training. Watch this space for further details and date/s.
5) Notice that there are other dangers as well, not just in the pool. Watch your step up onto and off of the deck, for instance, when you’re going to get food and/or drinks. Be careful not to stub your toes on the rocks, and be mindful of burns around the grill. Pay attention as you walk from your car alongside the house, and especially mind your head as you walk by the greenhouse window in the kitchen. And please be aware as you walk to/from your car. The neighborhood is “fairly safe” but that doesn’t mean you should be oblivious. If you’re concerned, please get someone/s to walk you to your car. We’d much rather you be safe, than we all be sorry!
6) Please don’t hesitate to ask for help! That’s why the hosts are wearing the glowing headbands — so you can FIND us in the dark! If you experience or notice something that seems awry, please do bring it to a host’s attention as quickly as possible.
Thank you for being in my community, and for your patronage of this event. And thanks for being aware of your fellow party-goers, and their safety as well as your own. Tomorrow I’ll continue this discussion with either or both of the topics of Consent and Emotional Safety/Comfort (not sure, cuz I haven’t written it yet!).
PPS: Here are some more reminders for those attending the party on Sat 9/27!
* PLEASE read the FAQ, esp. if you’re new: http://bit.ly/oVjQra
* Address and Directions are IN THE FAQ: http://bit.ly/oVjQra
* This is a SOCIAL event, not a playparty or pickup joint. Only YES means yes! http://www.yesmeansyes.com/
* This event is welcoming of ALL — all shapes, sizes, races, political affiliations, abilities, relationship styles, genders, orientations, religions, etc — please be polite and kind to everyone! We want everyone to feel comfortable, and to want to come back!
* Please remember your potluck donation! (But if you forget, there’s a Safeway a couple of blocks away on Bancroft)
* … and your towel. And remember to take YOUR towel back home!
* This is a “dry” party — no alcohol please!
* Yes, late arrivals are OK!
* Yes, you may attend as a single (aka, we don’t gender balance)
* Suits are required before dark.
* Do you want to volunteer? Fill out this form, please!
* Did you mean to donate via PayPal, but missed that button somehow? Here’s the link to the PPP Donation Page: http://bit.ly/kjbznI
* RSVP FORM: http://bit.ly/Td801M
* QUESTIONS? Send ’em to Dawn! http://www.blog.loveoutsidethebox.com/contact.html
Dawn Davidson <3 <3 <3
Get KISSable Agreements for $10! http://www.blog.loveoutsidethebox.com/kissable-agreements.html
I affirm that all is proceeding as it should, unfolding right now in the perfect way. I send my love and gratitude out into the world, and I affirm that all is well, and will be well, where Love prevails. So may it be.
©2014, Dawn M. Davidson