Affinity Groups–Slightly Naughty Post
July 12, 2008
As we drove back to the road, we noticed a trailer parked on lot #1. My wife, even more introverted than I, hates to approach strangers (when we are lost, I am the one who will ask people for directions), but noticing that there were two people standing next to well-drilling equipment, she agreed we should stop and ask them if they were finding water.
As we began talking to the couple (who turned out to be the people I now refer to as The Friendly Neighbors), we learned that they were about our age (old as dirt, another affinity group), moving from the mainland to have five acres of their own for more privacy (another affinity group), and enthusiastic organic gardeners. Bingo! Introvert Mrs. Random and introvert Mrs. Friendly Neighbor were now instant buddies. When their well hit water a week or so later, we figured their good fortune a quarter mile from where we were thinking of buying, we were in lottery-winning territory.
Now I will use a couple of silly examples, though valid, I suspect. Suppose John and Mary (imaginary names) like to take off their clothes and have intimate relations with strangers in a group setting. (We don’t, and I suspect my readers don’t, but such people exist.) When such people move into a new city, the first thing they look for is the local “Swingers” group.
One of the funniest cartoons I ever saw in Playboy magazine (how I got a free subscription to Playboy and how my marriage survived is another episode of my memoir yet to be written) went like this:
An obviously very jaded and depraved middle-aged couple is sitting in their living room with a very dewy-eyed and innocent young couple (probably very recently married).
The young man is answering a question just posed by the older man. The innocent young man says, “Swing? Well, it’s kind of late, but sure. Where do you keep your swing set?”
The strangest part of this joke is that my wife and I had a similar experience (well, not an experience, per se, so you are not shocked), but an encounter that might have been on a road to such an experience, except the other couple was a little more observant and realistic than the cartoon couple, so the question was never posed to us. Or maybe I was just imagining things. We’ll never know. But even my wife got weird vibes. Another story to be told another time.
The other comment I have about affinity groups is that there are people who like to take their clothes off in the company of strangers but not necessarily engage in intimate relations. In America, such people in a new area ask where the nearest nudist colony is. In France (apparently-I’ve never been there), such people ask where the nearest beach is.
Whether swingers or nudists are extroverts or introverts, I’m not sure. In most cases, they probably get pretty good mileage. Or at least don’t show their mileage that much.