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BiCon & Pride - helen-louise
BiCon & Pride
Still at BiCon. Still having a good time! This is unusual for me - my history with BiCons past has been, at best, "mixed" - which is why I missed the last two on purpose.

Some specific things have helped this time round. Firstly, I realised on Friday, when I was walking to the shops feeling miserable because I was on my own, that it was crazy to feel "all alone in the centre of the crowd" - because who would I be with if I was at home? On a Friday in the middle of the working day, I'd be on my own walking or cycling to the shops, wouldn't I? So why should I feel lonely because I'm doing the same thing at a convention? I also realised that - while I'm somewhat jealous of the people who "do" BiCon as a couple or triple, it wouldn't work for me with my current people. Alexa & I don't have that kind of coupley relationship (in fact, I think it would drive us both nuts if we tried), and when I dragged Richard along to the London BiFest because I was feeling insecure, we just ended up feeling like we were both alone in the crowd together - which wasn't any more preferable to being alone by myself. In fact, it felt worse, because I felt guilty for dragging him along when I knew it wasn't the sort of thing he'd really enjoy (being introverted to the point where 3 people in the house can make him over-peopled). So I've been trying to do things to make myself feel less isolated - like actually approaching other people and talking to them! and it's been working a lot better.

Secondly, the horrible sexual undercurrent that I've felt at every other BiCon has been missing from this one. I don't know whether I've changed or whether other people have changed - it could be that the stricter Code of Conduct is helping. But so far, I've just had friendly conversations with people, and exchanged a few flirtacious comments, and expressed pleasure in other people's appearances without flirting, and this has all felt fine. No one has asked me to do anything I didn't want to, let alone kept on with the suggestions after I'd already said no, and so I feel safe and happy. Right now I'm wearing the three traffic light symbols on my badge together - red, orange and green - and a few people have asked why I have "Yes, I'm available" and "No, I'm not available" together, and I explained what it means. Every relationship I've ever had that started as a romantic/sexual relationship has ended in disaster, and the relationships I've had that started as friendships have been good. So, while I am "available" for a romantic relationship, I don't want to start one except with someone I already know very, very well, so that any potential incompatibilities or different ways of doing things have been addressed. So yes - feel free to talk to me with regard to a possible relationship - but realise that we're talking months to years in the future. And that's ok.

Thirdly, I met a nun from the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, who turned out to be the sort of person I'd expect to find as a sister, and not like the one I met at Edinburgh BiCon, which was my first major bi event, who reduced me to hysterical tears and completely ruined the event for me. It's proved to me it really was that person who was the problem, not me, and not their organisation. It seems fitting that BiCon is back in Scotland and for me to get closure in that way. (And now I'm crying writing that, but it's actually okay.)

It is weird being in Glasgow. Half the men have accents that are incomprehensible to me, while the other half sound like my grandfather who died 15 years ago, and I've been missing him terribly. While I've dated Scottish men, they've been from further North with a different accent, so not triggered that. But again, I'm mostly feeling okay about it.

Fourthly, I'm feeling reaffirmed in myself and my identity. While I claim any number of labels on a day-to-day basis, I haven't been very politically active for years, because I got burned out. There reaches a point when a person no longer wants to go out and talk to people about being bisexual or polyamorous, they just want to get on with their life and the people they're with. Now I'm feeling fired up again. I have ideas for workshops I want to run at PolyDay and future alt.polycons and BiCons - new workshops that haven't been run before - and I want to do some more low-key volunteer stuff. Being on committees kills me, it's not good for my mental or physical health - but I can do "small" jobs like reception desk and badges and registration, and give input to the venue wranglers and programme organisers. I can do this.

I think part of me has always felt like I'm in the way at BiCon - that I'm taking up a space that rightfully belongs to someone else, and no one wants me to be there. I don't feel like that any more. I feel like this is a space where it's okay to be whoever you are, and it'll be accepted. It occurred to me today how different this is from mainstream Western culture, which says that women must be a size 8, tall and slim, with perfect long blonde hair, manicured fingernails, and shaved to within an inch of their lives. Here, you can be who you are - fat, thin, inbetween, tall, short, whatever, hair doing whatever you want it to, shaving if you like to or not shaving if you don't - and it doesn't matter. However you look, there is a man, woman, or person of fluid or indeterminate gender here, who will find you attractive. And that's so unlike the messages we get from the mainstream media, or even from particular alternate scenes - I stopped identifying as goth because I found the goth scene too "conform-or-die"-ist, and I know that both the gay male and the lesbian scenes have a tendency to accept people only of certain physical appearances. In the bi scene, you don't have to conform to anything, because we welcome diversity. Being yourself is okay. And that's the part of BiCon I think I've always been looking for and never quite found, and the part I want to take away into my everyday life.

I miss the friends I'd usually expect to see at BiCon - memevector, wandra & Andi, mhw, the_maenad & Simon, to name just a handful - but I understand their reasons for not being here, and I know that sometimes people need a break to enjoy the con again. Because I did.

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Current Mood: okay bisexual

10 comments or Leave a comment
ruth_lawrence From: ruth_lawrence Date: 16th July 2006 16:32 (UTC) (Link)
It's great to read about you having a good time at BiCon :-)

Even though I didn't have a good time at all (I can say that now), I'd like to come back in the next year or two.
(Deleted comment)
From: ext_4143 Date: 17th July 2006 20:47 (UTC) (Link)
It is a pity we're missing this year's bicon. If next year's is a bit
closer to home I think we will likely attend.
barakta From: barakta Date: 18th July 2006 20:34 (UTC) (Link)
My mum is from Glasgow, I can usually parse Glaswegian. When I was 5 and starting school it was noted that I had a marked Glaswegian accent (relevant because it showed I could hear speech with my hearing aid and that my mum had TALKED to me a lot).

I was completely stuffed with most of the male Glaswegians. Gerry the organiser guy was lovely, but I had about 10% parse rate on him which made it hard to chat to him.

davidmcn From: davidmcn Date: 19th July 2006 13:02 (UTC) (Link)
Don't worry, we never understand what he's going on about either :)
sahilaelf From: sahilaelf Date: 19th July 2006 16:19 (UTC) (Link)
I agree Gerry was lovely ...even if he and I only spoke for a couple of minutes.
louis_mallow From: louis_mallow Date: 19th July 2006 07:52 (UTC) (Link)
Secondly, the horrible sexual undercurrent that I've felt at every other BiCon has been missing from this one. I don't know whether I've changed or whether other people have changed

I found the same a couple of bicons ago; it was definitely me, and it was very refreshing.
rhialto From: rhialto Date: 20th July 2006 20:48 (UTC) (Link)
I find it depends on my mood a lot. If I am down I see lots of (potential) sex between others around me (whether real or imagined) and it makes me more down since I then feel I am missing out. That happened only two or three fairly brief times. If I feel good then there is no problem.
baratron From: baratron Date: 21st July 2006 00:10 (UTC) (Link)
It's not my perception that's the problem, though. I'm referring to things like what happened at the London BiCon in 2003.

Some random sleazy guy at the bar took an interest in my walking stick. This freaked me out, because it's not a fetish prop, it's something that I have for mobility reasons. While I know there are people who use canes (and TENS machines, and other medical equipment) for SM purposes, that is not the purpose of mine. I told the guy this. He wouldn't take no for an answer. He kept on and on telling me how he'd like me to hit him with it, and when I said "NO, it's NOT FOR THAT, I HAVE A BAD LEG" he took that as a further come-on that I was playing hard to get or being Domme-y or something.

Then there is what happened at my first BiCon. At Edinburgh in 1999, a certain person who is still around the bi scene grabbed me in the toilets and stuck her tongue down my throat. Up to that point, I was interested in getting to know her as a friend, but after she did that I realised there was no way I could trust her. People have observed how cool I am with that person, quite unlike how I usually treat people in the community, and that is the reason. Yes, she was very, very drunk. But regardless of how drunk you are, "No" still means no.

These are just two incidents that stick in my mind as the worst things that have happened to me at BiCons, but there have been many other minor infringements of my boundaries. People standing too close in a non-crowded room, and not moving away if I ask them too. People touching me in places I didn't want to be touched. People asking questions I didn't want to answer and continuing to probe after I've made it clear the question isn't welcome.

Now, it may be that's what's changed with me is that I'm much more assertive about where my boundaries are. But I'm inclined to think it's the atmosphere that's different - that sleazy people just don't come to the con, or are thrown out once their behaviour is noticed.
From: calum Date: 19th July 2006 10:25 (UTC) (Link)
I feel like this is a space where it's okay to be whoever you are, and it'll be accepted.

That, for me, is exactly what BiCon is about, in a nut-shell.
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