kəˈno͞odl/verb informalkiss and cuddle amorously“They were canoodling in the corner“
Sometimes figuring out who’s okay to hit on and who’s not in spaces that include both mono, non-mono and poly people can be difficult. No one enjoys missing the opportunity to share something fun with another person they find attractive; and when you get used to the ask for what you want method, it can start to seem like the best plan is to just ask everyone, all the time.
This can lead to a lot of unnecessarily hurt feelings due to bad timing. For instance, when my partner and I are headed into the designated sex area of the con hand in hand, taking that moment to introduce him to the gorgeous brunette who you’ve been telling about his skilled hands and trying to set up a date for them is actually interrupting my date. And while I”m sure no one is trying to be a jerk in this scenario, the interrupter had no idea how I would respond to this, and took a big risk (in that it could have blown up our date) with very little information. [I’m happy to report that was one of my handling challenges well moments, and I excused myself to set up our date – chux, condoms, gloves, lube, etc; and then stretch until he was finished. Also happy to report that my lover had the good sense to realize I was waiting and dealt with our interruption as quickly as possible.]
So, when you’re unsure of someone’s mono/non mono standing, how do you know if it’s cool to hit on someone? And further to that, how do you know when it’s a good time to work your mojo? How do you KNOW?!?
Well, you can’t just know – at least not fully, and not until you have a wealth of experience under your belt. Even if once someone was okay with being interrupted, you’ll likely find a different response if you make a habit of it. Or you might catch them on a bad day, or they may have recently closed their relationship, or, or, or. BUT there are a number of ways you can get better information so you make less fuax pas. The easiest (and most obvious) way to know? Ask the people involved.
Find out from them their relationship status, if it’s cool to make introductions to new potentials interests and when a good time for those introductions are. And while you’re at it, figure out how introductions can be made in a way that’s kosher with everyone involved. Do this informally, maybe over drinks at a poly meet up or munch – don’t do it when they’re already engaged with each other.
Not a fan of that direct style of communication? Or maybe you just didn’t get the time to yet? Well, this is where our Poly Pro Tip comes in.
Respect the Canoodole
If you see people actively engaged with each other (kisses, cuddles, hand held leading, deep eye gazing, limbs wrapped around bodies etc) now is not the time to interrupt them. Their focus is on each other (and to be clear, each other might mean more than 2 people) and that’s likely to best place for it to stay at the moment.
Save your introductions/hook ups/declarations of lust for another time.
I get that while love is infinite, time is not – but trust me when I say, believing that you will have more opportunities to connect with someone and let them know you like them will start any explorations with this person off on such a better foot – not to mention show their partners that you respect all the relationships at play, not just the one you want to have. And if they really don’t? Consider that your crystal ball and ask yourself Do I want to be fighting for this person’s time? before you get involved with them.