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If you ever find yourself a wallflower, Pandora is the person you need. Passionate about human connection and openness, she got her start in the lifestyle (after being accidentally dropped into it) by following her natural instinct to foster kinship.
For a long time, Pandora tried living the ‘normal life’. “Up until I was disillusioned, I was going to church seven days a week. I just reached a point where no one was walking their talk… and I decided, ‘This isn’t a life choice for me.’ My grandmother always said, ‘Pretty is as pretty does… pretty comes from the inside.’ I have always worked to live by the motto,” Pandora says. For many years, she strived to be what she understood to be the perfect wife and PTA mom. “I was not happy living by the faulty belief systems I had, that I felt my husband and society desired of me,” she says. About 10 or 11 years ago, a move to Oregon proved to be the catalyst for a change. Her husband continues to spend half of his time working in California. “It can be difficult to maintain a relationship. He said, ‘I want you to be happy, life is supposed to be lived. No questions asked– if you want to go do something, I don’t care, I just don’t want to know.’” And while Pandora honored and appreciated the gesture her husband was making, she rarely acted on it.
Then, a girlfriend came to her in need of a last minute date to a private dance, and Pandora accepted the invitation with her husband’s okay, not knowing this “private dance” was actually a swinger’s dance. “And I was like, ‘Oh, do I feel like fresh meat on the market.’ I was embarrassed, terrified, and shaking.” Pandora was given a tour of the space, which included a section for dancing, a potluck, and a play area. “And I [thought], ‘Holy crap, people really do this.’ And I pretty much stayed out in the front and just danced, and danced, and danced, and had a marvelous time,” she recalls. A month later, the same friend called Pandora with another invitation, which she accepted; again, though she stayed out of the play area, she had the time of her life dancing, mingling, and socializing. By the time the third dance came up, Pandora was rarin’ to go. “I always made a point of trying to find all the wallflowers,” she says about these dances. “I usually stayed with the women… If the ladies do not have fun, no one has fun, and people do not tend to come back. So, I would specifically go and dance with the women… Sometimes we’d have a huge group of women just dancing and having fun. Sometimes, I’ll pull out one in particular and we’ll do swing dancing or something, and just be intimate, and create contact, and just get everyone having fun.” This sociability eventually got her noticed by the owners of the dance, who asked her to run membership. She began running membership and giving tours, and once the night was in full swing, she would spend the evening as, essentially, a hype-woman. Thus, Pandora found herself in the lifestyle. What she finds amusing about her first few years at the dances is that since she didn’t, and still doesn’t, play in public, most people assumed she was gay. “They knew me on the dance floor being fun, but no one really spent time getting to know me,” she says. It was at the dances that she met her second husband, who now completes her triad. “When he and I finally met up and started to date everyone was like, ‘She’s gay, she can’t be in a relationship!’ It was interesting watching many people in the community get upset, and my response was, ‘Well, you guys just didn’t get to know me.’ I enjoy being with women and men when there is a connection,” Pandora says. Now, Pandora and her two husbands continue to participate in dances and functions, and the community is beyond accepting of her new relationship.
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