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Monday, October 20, 2008

“Dan Savage is an asshole.”

posted by on October 20 at 10:30 AM

Yes, yes: I’m an asshole—have I ever disputed that point? To the contrary, I’ve cheerfully admitted to being an asshole in more columns than I care to count. But re-read this post—am I being an asshole to poly people? Does that Slog post drip with anti-poly animus? Am I hating on the poly lifestyle? Here’s the post…

I’m not a big proponent of monogamy, as most everyone is certainly aware by this point, and I’m generally pro-polyamory, even if “many loves” aren’t for me. I had a hard enough time conning one dude into putting up with my shit; I can’t imagine that I could possibly con two or three dudes.

But at the risk of sounding polyphobic, I have to say that this event sounds like hell on earth…

The event that sounded like hell on earth? Not the entirety of New York Poly Pride Day, but, as the post made clear, one item on the NYPPD agenda: “The Super Massive Cuddle Party.”


Participants were invited to engage in “multi-person, multi-gender activity,” and “rediscover non-sexual touch and affection.” As friends, co-workers, and that woman who tried to embrace me in the waiting room at LAX last Friday afternoon are well aware, I don’t like to be hugged. Hugs makes me uncomfortable. If you’re not my boyfriend, my kid, or a member of my immediate family, I’m not interested in rediscovering non-sexual touch with you. Period. If Satan himself sat up nights designing torments for me in hell, he couldn’t come up with better/worse than a “Super Massive Cuddle Party.”

But, hey, like I said: I don’t have a problem with poly relationships (not for me, but I’m pro-poly), and I don’t have a problem with poly people (some of my closest friends…), all I have a problem with is hugging, cuddling, and embracing strangers. Now read these two reactions from members of the poly community. First up

Dan Savage is an asshole. I know that’s not news, but his latest “slog” post in the Seattle Stranger demonstrates his common tendency to crap all over people and events just for the misanthropic fun of it.

It doesn’t matter that he is generally pro poly. His is the last opinion I’d value on that question. What does matter is that his toxic, scornful cynicism leads him to step on his own dick while at the same time slandering others and poisoning the minds of his readers against them.

So… when assessing someone’s opinion on all things poly, it doesn’t matter if he’s generally pro-poly. All that matters is that he signs off on every last event a poly pride celebration. Maybe the organizers of NYPPD could put that in their press releases next year? “Nothing but compliments, please. Remember we’re poly—our skin’s so thin we bleed in the rain.”

Here’s another reaction:

Dan Savage, ardent defender of the kinky and gay, is slamming a celebration of an intimate lifestyle that encourages communication, honesty (both social and individual), and is open to all walks of kink and sexual/gender affiliation…. I’d like to hear some more on why Dan Savage doesn’t like poly being out in the open in this fashion.

Who said anything about not wanting poly “out in the open”? When and where have I condemned the “intimate lifestyle” of poly people? Look, self-appointed poly spokeswhiners, I didn’t slam your celebration, or your lifestyle. I slammed your stupid cuddle party. If being pro-someone’s-intimate-lifestyle means having to sign off on every last event on its pride celebration calendar, then I guess I’m anti-gay. Because I spent a whole chapter in Skipping Towards Gomorrah ripping apart Gay Pride parades—I pissed all over the concept of gay pride.


RSS icon Comments


These people are obviously not sloggers. We live for smart-ass comments. A day without Poe is like a day without sunshine.

Posted by wisepunk | October 20, 2008 10:35 AM

I have issue with half the post being Bold.

Posted by clearlyhere | October 20, 2008 10:36 AM

Oops, nevermind. Just my computer

Posted by clearlyhere | October 20, 2008 10:38 AM

Half the post is Bold because the man is being emphatic, rather than SHOUTING.

I couldn't agree more with this post. Bravo.

Posted by Eddy968 | October 20, 2008 10:39 AM

I love cuddling (even with strangers, assuming they're not TOO strange), and I deeply regret that Dan Savage does not like cuddle parties.

Of course, I don't entirely see cuddling as non-sexual, either.

Posted by lusk | October 20, 2008 10:40 AM


i was hoping that Matisse was an anomalous boring poly. i see she's par for the course.

Posted by max solomon | October 20, 2008 10:40 AM

I hate when I step on my own dick.

Posted by paulus | October 20, 2008 10:40 AM

all the poly people i know are boring. and dan, is all that bolding necessary?

i am pro-cuddle parties, but only when i am the only woman and all the men are french rugby players, preferably nekkid.

Posted by scary tyler moore | October 20, 2008 10:43 AM

dan, i think you should look on the bright side......YOU CAN STEP ON YOUR OWN DICK!!!! i wish my non-poly man lover could do that!

oh yeah, fuck hugs.

Posted by Denise | October 20, 2008 10:44 AM

I just hate the IDEA of a "cuddle party". Ewg.

Re the bolding, I think SOMEBODY forgot the ...

Posted by Nora | October 20, 2008 10:49 AM

What I MEANT was "somebody forgot to close the bold tag".

Posted by Nora | October 20, 2008 10:50 AM

Dan Savage is gay?

Slow new day.


Posted by top 3 comments | October 20, 2008 10:51 AM

Hugs, serious business.

Posted by Sirkowski | October 20, 2008 10:52 AM

oh, and remember dan, in order to avoid being called a "misogynist" enemy of womankind you have to just love everything about pussies, too! yum, yum, gots to loves you some pussy. don't forget, now.

Posted by ellarosa | October 20, 2008 10:53 AM

I vote The Stranger give consideration to passing your Slogging privileges off to Jameth.

Posted by mo | October 20, 2008 11:02 AM

This is the same type of 'tude I see from radical People's Socialist Workers Party members, or whatever they call themselves, at local labor council meetings: mainstream Democrats who agree with 90% of their agenda isn't good ENOUGH. If you aren't 100% in lock-step with them, then they consider you only slightly less onerous than a right-wing, Limbaugh-quoting ditto-head.

Seriously, ideological "purity" sucks ass...

Posted by COMTE | October 20, 2008 11:03 AM

For an unapologetic asshole, you seem overly bothered by these bloggers. I mean, it's not like you're making CNN headlines here, right?

BTW, I don't think you're an asshole, just opinionated. The difference is that you realize when you're wrong and admit to it.

Posted by Lavode | October 20, 2008 11:10 AM

After getting your dick stepped on, you'd probably WANT a cuddle...

Posted by michael strangeways | October 20, 2008 11:13 AM

I seriously doubt that 99% of the guys involved in cuddle parties actually think its a non-sexual event. In your undies, cuddling with women (or other men for teh gays) in their lingerie, and its not sexual???


That dried up white stuff on your panties isn't sexual either, nope nope

Posted by Wurm | October 20, 2008 11:15 AM

You can step on your own Dick? That's impressive.

Posted by Jeremy from Seattle | October 20, 2008 11:16 AM

Non-sexual cuddle parties don't exist. People who think they do have a lot to admit to themselves about sex.

Posted by Pooh Bear | October 20, 2008 11:29 AM

Sounds like someone needs a hug!

Posted by Chris in Tampa | October 20, 2008 11:37 AM

Cuddle parties sound horrible, but that pile of worms is making me horny.

Posted by Fnarf | October 20, 2008 11:41 AM

I remember hearing about these cuddle parties a few years ago. You're asked to leave if you get a boner, didja know that?

I weep for the future.

Posted by Jason Josephes | October 20, 2008 11:44 AM

A day without Poe is a day with sunshine

Posted by Jonathan Bailo Thomas | October 20, 2008 11:48 AM

How can close intimate contact with someone you find sexually attractive not create at least some sexual feelings? The self control these folks must have is impressive.

Posted by Ryan | October 20, 2008 11:53 AM

There were many overtly negative remarks about polys (pollies? polyps?)in the comments to that post. Obviously they had to pick on you because the rest of us aren't famous enough to bitch about. You have given them a a reason to circle the wagons and have a nice rub, er um, cuddle over it, they should be grateful.

Posted by inkweary | October 20, 2008 11:56 AM

Polyamorists: only slightly less defensive than the fatosphere.

Posted by brent | October 20, 2008 12:12 PM

Don't forget: you also took a poop on ex-youth pastors.

Posted by Jonathan Harford | October 20, 2008 12:20 PM

I agree with 5, 19, 21, 24, and 26. Further, that the organizers of such an event could (a) claim that a cuddle party is entirely non-sexual, and (b) consider a dis on the cuddle party to be an attack on the entire Poly Pride Day, raises serious questions about their judgement about and understanding of human relations.

Posted by Greg | October 20, 2008 12:24 PM

I feel like these folks are deluded themselves if they think there's nothing sexual about this. For the record, I am pro-hugging and "non-sexual touch", but, find it truly hard to believe that an event like that is non-sexual.

Maybe it's the fact that it's a bunch of strangers in a room -- how can you express true affection for someone you don’t even know? I don’t know, maybe if it were designed to “reframe assumptions about men and women” in the sense that “men and women can be friends and can touch each other without it being sexual”, that would make sense to me. But, with strangers?

Posted by Julie in Chicago | October 20, 2008 12:26 PM

Worms are like, totally just like, grody! Please post more recipes with santorum in them.

Posted by Cookie W. Monster | October 20, 2008 1:42 PM

Hi - you linked to my excerpt of the post from Anita Wagner's Practical Polyamory blog.

The original post is here:


Posted by Viviane | October 20, 2008 2:13 PM

I will always love you, Dan. Even if you are a little cranky sometimes. And I'm totally with you on hugging groups of strangers in parks. If you don't pick up a cold you're bound to lose your wallet.

Posted by Vince | October 20, 2008 2:39 PM

@ 28 -- i think there's significant overlap in that venn diagram...

Posted by paul | October 20, 2008 2:43 PM


i am quite a huggy person, myself. and *i* find the idea of a huge cuddle party, with strangers, no - with strangers who *want* to participate in a big cuddle party with other strangers - flatly repulsive.

if you want to hug people you don't know, there's a better way to do it. just hand 'em out. don't make some weird planned orgy out of it, that's just inviting trouble.

Posted by happyhedonist | October 20, 2008 3:47 PM

During the Clinton-Lewinsky brouhaha ('member that?, seems eons ago), Sen. Patrick Leahy pithily paraphrased H.L. Mencken to the effect that when somebody tells you "this really isn't about sex"'s about sex.

Posted by Rick S. | October 20, 2008 7:51 PM

Why would you cuddle with strangers? You know someone in that crowd isn't going to adhere to the non-sexual rule. Also, cooties.

Posted by Sarah Christine | October 21, 2008 2:39 PM

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