Aside from my initial experiences as a unicorn (see “The Reluctant Unicorn“), I hadn't really pondered much about the overall perception of single people in the Lifestyle. I'd always assumed that unicorn = good while single guys (whether they are called stallions, stags, or Bulls)= bad. Of course, these are blatant generalizations, but I assumed that most people felt the same.
I recently learned that my perceptions were incorrect. I always heard (and mostly believed) that single guys in the lifestyle were generally frowned upon for a number of reasons. They were seen as pushy, aggressive, creepy, and disrespectful. Usually they weren't well versed in the nuances of the lifestyle, rather, they often were “vanilla” guys who somehow heard about the LS and saw it as an easy way to have lots of sex without much effort. As a result, many places, events, and parties banned single guys altogether or made it extremely expensive for them to gain entry. Profiles were fraught with the phrase “no single guys,” and those who chose to engage with them were few and far between.
My experience with single guys in the LS was limited, but for the most part, they followed a lot of the stereotypes. I can remember being quite annoyed with grabby and pushy single guys at parties, or the creepers at Hedonism that lurked closer and closer in the hot tub whenever any action started. The few single guys I knew usually tried to attach themselves to a girl so they could gain entry without any problems (one of my fears with PS, and even with the ex-boyfriend who shall not be named).
Really, I hadn't seen any well liked, respectful, and admired single guys until I met the Out of State Interest (OSI). He actually was a “lifestyle guy,” having spent his entire time in it as a single male. But I'd peg him as the exception to the rule. More on him later.
Unicorns, on the other hand, I'd always heard were sought after, desired- that it was almost a badge of honor to “capture” one. What I didn't realize was that unicorns came with their own set of negative stereotypes: that they were emotionally unstable, possessive, clingy, would sleep with anyone. That there was a reason why they were unicorns (read: crazy) And that wives and girlfriends generally didn't want them around.
When I found out about this, I was a bit floored. It made sense, though- I'd had a number of people tell me that I wasn't like most unicorns, and I didn't quite understand what they meant. One couple always seemed to marvel at how unaggressive I was, and how I always tried to make sure to speak to both wives and husbands evenly and respect them and their relationship. I just never wanted to overstep my place as a guest. Discovering that I was overcoming negative stereotypes was both flattering and sad to me. I didn't realize that I was looked at that way when I walked through the door.
I think that my experiences shaped my behavior. Because I was part of a couple in the LS for many years, well known and liked, I remembered my own insecurities as a wife. I knew how I wanted to be treated then, so I tried to treat others the same way now and be sensitive to their feelings. My headiness served me well here- I wasn't just out for selfish gain, rather, I observed others, read cues, and tried to make sure I was considerate to everyone. Heck, I wanted people to want to have me around!
I talked to OSI about this a bit, and he said yes, he'd heard and experienced all of those negative stereotypes with his experiences with unicorns as well. He said that frankly, the ones he'd dealt with in the past all turned out to be at least little bit crazy, and things didn't last long.
And for him, overcoming his LS stereotypes was par for the course- he said that many men tend to be territorial, ego driven, and didn't really want to see their significant other being pleased (unless they were being pleased themselves). Many women had trouble admitting that they wanted to experience another man and feared upsetting their husband/boyfriend and their home life, so they avoided engaging with single guys altogether. Despite all of this, he'd developed many loyal friends and fans, and his online profile had pages upon pages of testimonials raving about not only his sexual prowess and looks but his personality and respectfulness.
Were we simply the exceptions to the rule? All stereotypes are based in at least a kernel of truth, so maybe. Obviously people out there were having bad experiences with singles. I think that part of that may be because many single girls and guys are brought into the lifestyle rather suddenly- a couple's night of “vanilla hunting” suddenly opens a whole new world to them, and they have to learn the ropes rather quickly. Some adapt. Many don't- they are unable to shake the “vanilla mindset.” Unfortunately, that doesn't work so well in the lifestyle.
I'd heard people say that the LS should be for couples only, that single people didn't need to be in it at all. I could understand that argument to a point- in addition to the stereotypes I mentioned, the LS was originally about couple-swapping, and singles could upset the balance of things, creating new issues and odd numbers. But I also could see that much of the argument against singles was likely born out of insecurities, jealousy, and ego- the root of most issues in the LS.
Luckily, enough people wanted singles around (especially single females), so it doesn't look like I'm going anywhere anytime soon. I guess I'll just keep breaking stereotypes. Maybe I'll become a myth or a legend when it's all said and done. Even if it's in my own mind.