Vice reports on London's Polyday convention
The UK's annual Polyday conference took a hiatus a few years ago, then came back with renewed energy under new leadership. The 2018 event last month brought out 250 people, Vice UK reports in an interesting look at us by an accomplished feminist journalist.
We Went to a Polyamory Event and Learned What a 'Polycule' Is
The organisers of Polyday think it's the biggest non-monogamy event in Europe, and tried to match that scale with a raft of talks and workshops.
Three organisers of Polyday – L-R: Charlotte Davies, Conaire
Hodgson and Eunice Hung – at a wedding.
By Sophie Hemery
Earlier this month, in a charmingly dingy community centre in south London, 250 people gathered to talk about polyamory. The organisers think Polyday is the biggest non-monogamy event in Europe — and in its four years [since being revived] this was the biggest yet. "We're at maximum capacity, way more than expected — it's going to be tight, hot and sweaty!" proclaimed the welcome speech.
Polyamory has just gone mainstream in BBC1's primetime drama Wanderlust, and you couldn't help but wonder if some of the crowd had decided to attend while choking down their Merlot and Kettle Chips. That is to say, the crowd wasn't just the likely suspects. There were some tasselled waistcoats and flares, sure, and some fluorescent hairstyles — but there was also: all sorts.
There were retired folk in cardigans; sleek, almost-famous actors; parents and children; millenials-who-can't-buy-homes-because-they-drink-too-many-oat-milk-flat-whites. Some were polyamorous veterans, experienced at having concurrent, committed intimate relationships. Others were taking their first steps away from the monogamous doctrine. ...
...Over the past five years, "polyamory" has become ten times more popular as a UK Google search, and there's also now a dating app dedicated to alternative relationships.
..."It's my first time at a poly event," one antsy but excited man told the woman next to him, "my wife suggested polyamory, and I'm embracing it." Beside me sat a beaming trio holding hands. ...
"I think we live in a fear-based culture surrounding relationships," said Matt, an attendee who is new to non-monogamy. "It's all, 'Oh god, don’t leave me!' and there's this pressure for one person to be everything." In contrast, Matt finds polyamory "very celebratory and honouring of people.
"When you stop looking for one person to cover everything, you can really engage with that person without the pressure," he said. "Knowing that they don't have to be everything, because you have a community, you have other people, enables you to be much more present." ...
Read on (Oct. 23, 2018).
● More recently, Hemery published a related article in the high-think magazine Aeon: Can relationship anarchy create a world without heartbreak? (Nov. 13, 2018). Spoiler: Probably not, nor should it, but it could make heartbreak less pathological.
Can you imagine a world without heartbreak? Not without sadness, disappointment or regret — but a world without the sinking, searing, all-consuming ache of lost love. A world without heartbreak is also a world where simple acts cannot be transformed, as if by sorcery, into moments of sublime significance. Because a world without heartbreak is a world without love — isn’t it?
More precisely, it might be a world without love’s most adulated form: romantic love. For many people, romantic love is the pinnacle of human experience. But feelings don’t exist in a cultural void. The heartbreak-kind of love is a relatively new and culturally specific experience, masquerading as the universal meaning of life.
...What if there was a way to reap the depths and heights of love without the heartbreak?