i would have to say Validation Day was a pretty wonderful party. It is one of our more insular events, with mostly people who are well known to the community in attendance and thus it is smaller than many of our holidays, but since it is one of our more popular/fun events a fair few ex-members and friends of community make a point of coming. This years also coincided with Willows 10th birthday celebration. Which brought some other wonderful people like Susan Posey.
Besides organizing the 6 creatures game with Joanna, i did almost nothing to make this validation day party happen. Which was nice for me. The validation card reading was fun, the dance party was wonderful, but it was the kissing booth that rocked my world.
At first i was annoyed about it. I went up to the kissing booth and looked at the sign up sheet and saw that someone had signed me up for the first shift, which was in a way funny, but since they did not ask me, it made me a bit grumpy. The woman who had legitimately signed up after me was curious if i was done and i said yes and crossed myself off the list.
Her name is Rejoice, she has been sort of an Acorn satellite for the last few months, but my very minimal connection with her goes back a bit earlier, in that she is close with Davi and is part of what i consider the second generation new culture kids. She is 20 something, bubbly and charming.
We ducked into the kissing both (which used the new years party Narnia closet as the doorway, which was an excellent addition). And we kissed. It was an amazing kiss. I have been lucky enough to have a lot of kisses in my life and for a kiss between near strangers, it was intensely passionate.
i left the kissing booth a bit shaken. Danced a little, thought a lot and finally came back to Rejoice and said
There are only two possibilities really. That you could come to that kiss with such passion and intensity, when we dont really know each other means either that you are fantastically empathic and can reach inside the emotional make up of this new person and experience them there. Or you are crazy.
Rejoyie smiled brightly and said “i am crazy.”
Afterward As Cardin points out, there is a problem with this post, which is that it trivializes the often misused accusation that women are crazy. There is of course a third option in this story, which is that Rejoice is tremendously daring. That she is willing to step in and step up to being present and connected in this way to someone who she barely knows. Funologically, the kissing booth created the container or frame for this behavior – and what she brought to it was amazing. Deep respect and appreciation. And thanks to Cardin for pointing out my error.
What attracts me to Validation Day is that it is a daring and a romantic holiday. The situation is that there are lots of people who are secretly holding onto mutual attractions, but fear of rejection keeps them from asking. Thus, if you can get people to identify these attractions in a rejection free context and inform people where they are mutual, you can create more connection and intimacy. Enter my favorite community tradition the 6 creatures game, which uses a single highly trusted personality to insure no ones feels hurt r embarrassed. This safe yet daring cultural construct is described in more detail at the end of this post.
The second important opportunity to be daring is by writing into peoples Validation Day cards. These are our alternative to the private and monogamously-exclusive store-bought Valentines Day card. Instead we have self made (many quite artistic this year including Raynes intricate pop up cards) collage-type cards which dozens of members write in and everyone can read until they are distributed at the V day party.
Aubee and i went after a failed pizza club adventure to ZK to sign a bunch of the Validation Day Cards. We both sign almost everyones cards. We occasionally read our entries to each other, to see if they are over the top. Some of Aubby’s are. By the end of our evening i had written in names Z thru F which is something over 50 cards. And while most of people would not call these “love letters”. There is still some emotional or comic content. I wrote “i miss your long hair, but i think i see you better without it.” or “I appreciate that you called my name before i called yours” To Ridgeley, who is not yet 2 years old. There were longer pieces of writing to important players in my life and a peace offerings to an estranged one. And as such this large group activity occasionally invites us to take a chance or three.
And the third daring format which is available is that there is a kissing booth at our Validation Day party, which this year is on Feb 18th (dont ask if you can come). The funological principal here is that it is much easier to feel comfortable with someone after you have already kissed them and somewhat more likely that you will kiss them again. This is why kissing workshops and even spin the bottle can often warms up a party.
Brief description of the 6 creatures game. Everyone who wants to play gets a ballot with all the players names on it, with 6 creatures representing different types of dates you might have with each other:
- An ant is a work date
- A puppy is a play date
- A kitten is a cuddle date
- A fish is a kissing date
- A rabbit is a hot sex date
- A dove is seeking a long term committed relationship with this person.
Lets say i am attracted to Fuliana and she is playing. I write that i am interested in a work date, a play date and cuddle date. When i get my results back i find out that she is just interested in a play date (or perhaps she was interested in a hot sex date, but since i was not interested, i dont find out). We are just informed of our matching desires. No rejection, no fear.
You of course need someone who you trust to read the ballots and make the matches and then never tell anyone about these combinations. We have Kathryn who plays this roll which is affectionately referred to as “iron lips”.
There is one person at least who plays the game with the intention of finding out where everyone else is in their desires for them, without the intention of having almost all the dates which come out of the game. The way they play is that they choose all options for all players, even though they are not looking for the vast majority of these dates at all. Complicating this bad behavior is the fact that this play is both attractive and in a committed romantic relationship which does not give room for much beyond work dates with other people. And this years organizers have instructed Iron Lips to bounce games back to their original players if they appear to be this type of fishing exhibition.
And the overall result is for many people is that they have at least some information about various different levels of social contact people want to have with then. It is a collection of invitations, which come with no obligation. And while Twin Oaks will not likely turn us into a free love community as was popular in some communes in the late 1960s, these types of social tools combined with transparency groups and a commitment to support each other makes us a much more robust and connected community.