The 2009 experiment - “a little group exercise”

A little over five months ago, I started the following experiment: I invited my best female friends to help me compile a comprehensive and didactic approach to handling complicated relationships.

My invitation went as follows:

Subject: a little group exercise!

Dear friends,

would you like to write something for me?

The request may come unexpected, and I apologize in advance if I am taxing your busy agenda or bothering you in any way. Since some of you don’t know each other, I am hiding your e-mail addresses for privacy.

But since I know each of you, I like your personality and I find the way you express your feelings interesting, I would like to involve you in a serious, cultural “interview” I am conducting in my social circles. There is very little reward involved, except my generous gratitude and possibly eternal fame afterwards :) (see below)

Language is free: write in your native language, or the language you are most comfortable writing in. Even a language you know I don’t understand is fine!

Length is free: one word is OK, ten pages equally good. Ideal length would be as much as you would write on a real postcard or in your personal journal.

There is one catch: I get to choose the topic :)

When writing, you can adopt one of these two standpoints:

1) a very close (female) friend of yours if feeling uncomfortable: she is involved in a steady relationship and is attracted to (or has an affair with) some other person; she does not know what attitude to adopt;

2) you have experienced yourself such a situation, and you try to explain to a very close (female) friend of your how you are dealing with the situation.

A few hints to focus the situation: children are not involved. Nobody else knows (yet). It’s the best sex ever you’ve ever had (or no sex if you prefer to not have sex at all) on both sides. No money issues either.

At the same time, I am asking you for permission: I would like to reproduce your answer on my web site, in part or in full (you choose!) with or without your first name next to it (you choose! but no last names) in a compilation that will carry the title “Relationships 101: crash course by European girls”.

You can start straight away and let your heart speak for yourself. General opinions are OK, personal experience is good too. But it has to involve some feelings, not only rational thoughts! If you don’t know where to start, imagine that your audience will be European teenage girls that are looking for some input from more experienced adults, and who will gladly learn some good advice to not f*ck up later.

And then, it would be also nice if you would reflect in your thoughts your personal opinion on some attitudes from outside Europe on this topic. I’m thinking for example very strongly about polyamory in the US:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyamory, http://www.faqs.org/faqs/polyamory/faq/index.html

(French: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyamour)

(Dutch: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyamorie, http://www.polyamory.nl/polyamoryFAQNL.html)

but also other cultural positions on these topics from Asia, Africa, the middle east, whichever you know about.

Thank you in advance and so much for your attention and this little bit of your time. There is no delay, take your time to think about it if you need to!

PS: also feel free to forward this request to your (trusted) female friends. I also gladly accept reply from girls I don’t know yet, but only if you would recommend them personally!

Thank you again, and big hugs to all.

For the record, the twenty-something friends I involved in this “exercise” are dear to me in different ways; and for each of them, we had at one point or another previously discussed their own relationships and their opinions about the topics mentioned above before I asked them to produce a more constructed argument.

Here is the summary of the reactions I have received so far:

  • two have immediately informed me that they were sensitive to the issue and would prefer not to write about it;
  • two others have immediately expressed an intense interest in the topic and promised to participate the best they could; however I haven’t received yet any further reply from them despite several more recent interactions;
  • three others have expressed verbally a moderate interest and suggested they will think about it; of them one highlighted that the lack of deadline might postpone indefinitely her efforts;
  • one did actually answer after one month with a well-though argument that I thought was very positive and considerate.
  • eleven have not reacted to my invitation in any way whatsoever despite numerous other social interactions since then, and one even denied receiving this e-mail when asked about it a few weeks ago.

I am still waiting and am considering asking for an update next month, i.e. six months after my initial request. Short afterwards, I will ensure with the author(s) that they allow me to publish their works before making them visible online.