The new, improved 7 Creatures Game
Some twisted combination of ego, fear and shame keep us from asking for what we desire, when we are unsure of the chance of rejection. This is doubly true when it comes to matters of the heart. Some clever thinking has gone into this problem at the communes and one of the devices which has been developed over the years, as part of the Validation Day celebrations (which happen in mid February) is the 6 Creatures Game.
This game allows you to ask someone if they want to hang out and play with you (in a number of different ways), without ever having to hear a rejection. It is basically a matching game in which each player says what they would like with other players and everyone gets told just what matches they have. There is a digitally anonymized trusted 3rd party intermediary who communicates the matches to all the players on the night of the big Validation Day party.
When it was pioneered at East Wind, there were only 4 “states”, which were mostly about hooking up sexually. But over time the game has morphed twice significantly. Twin Oaks expanded on this notion to add two more creatures and more platonic options. This year Kathryn (who runs the game) made a number of changes, including adding a creature (Capybara), because of the way she views the community has changed.
Her mose important acknowledgement is that the centrality of work dates has changed. Was a time, even just a few years ago, when if you really wanted to meet someone at Twin Oaks you would propose a hammocks date. The hammocks shop is open all the time, in nice weather people work outside, there is a relatively high level of privacy, which is good for initial investigations. The nice thing about hammocks dates is they can be long or short and if you really like the person you are talking with you can just extend them, so they are great for courting. Many Twin Oaks honeymoons started with hammock shop dates.
In recent years the hammock shop has dramatically slowed, no longer is every visitor even trained in how to make them. The culture has shifted, it would likely make more sense to suggest a seed packing shift now, which has similar advantages to the hammocks dates of old, and there is an actual need for it currently. What Kathryn did was role all work and play activities together under the ants creature and spun off a parrots creature which was just getting together to talk (as distinct from some outwardly focused shared activity). This feels like a wise re-assignment to me.
Kathryn also wanted to add a creature for introverts who wanted to acknowledge positive relationships, without proposing some shared experience. She confessed that she choose the creature knowing only that it was quite happy when in solitary. I was amused because before i spoke with her it had found that Capybaras are best known for their gregarious groupings. While not mentioning introverts, the description she choose for the Capybara was “I like you, and I’m happy the way things are” . It is a break from previous “creature” states, because it is not proposing anything new, simply acknowledging what already is and is working fine.
I was surprised, pleased and curious about the additional creature and after this years game i will interview folks and find out if it was used and if people liked it. Watch this space, i’ll report back here.
This years creature are:
Parrots – I’d like to talk sometime/get to know each other better
Ants – I’m interested in sharing an activity together (crafts, sports, work, book club, projects, etc)
Cats – I’m interested in sharing physical affection like cuddles or hugs (not necessarily romantic interest)
Fish – I’d like to kiss at the party (or some other casual context)
Bonobos – I’d like to explore/continue sexy times
Doves – I have romantic interest
Capybara – I like you, and I’m happy the way things are
If you are at any of the Louisa intentional communities and you want to play, send me your email before Feb 18th and we will put you on the list of players. Here is the announcement of the new creature and game.
Here is a description of how Validation Day Cards work.