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February 22, 1976 - Image 3

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1976-02-22

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Page Three

page four -books
page five-profile

Number 18

February 22, 1976



The singles workshop:

Therapy in


resemblance to Agatha Chris-
tie's Ten Little Indians. There were
ten of us, including a carpet sales-
man, a high school senior, an econ-
omist-and them. The Bloods. Mar-
garet and Bob Blood.
We weren't being sequestered off
on a faraway island, and we weren't
the victims of an elaborate, sinis-
ter plot. But, the gathering of ten
strangers-six women and four
men--in a secluded home on Ann
Arbor's west side for a weekend
billed as "a singles encounter
workshop," was material enough

for all sorts the desired action.

I wasn't quite
with either sort.
a story.

prepared to deal
All I wanted was

I WAS THE ninth one to arrive
at the Blood home that Friday
evening. It was a viciously cold
January night, yet remaining out-
side seemed easier than . forcing
myself to cross the threshold of
'their Penncraft Court home.
Knocking timidly on the door
(hoping they wouldn't really an-
3wer) I thought wistfully of the
security I had just abandoned for
a weekend of journalistic enter-

I felt as if the chair was something
I could hang onto. I only wished
I could have dived under the
Following the guarded greeting,
an unnerving silence set in which
wasn't broken until the Bloods ask-
ed us to help them rearrange the
living room furniture. In order to
contain us in the "same physical
and psychological space," we were
instructed to occupy only half of
the comfortably-furnished room.
The sofa became the dividing line.
We were told to "bring ourselves
We obeyed.
After we plopped ourselves down
on pancake - thin, cloth - covered
cushions, we were told to form a
tightly-knit circle. Bob asked us
to concentrate on what we were
feeling "in the here and now" and
to share our feelings with the rest
of the group when we felt the in-
clination. Painful silence ensued.
I, like the others, feared revealing
a part of myself, however small, to
these absolute strangers. I knew
enough about myself - it was the
other people who interested me.
toring the nervous, darting
glances, Bob broke the tension by
offering the results of his self-
examination. He told us he was
feeling "unusually good" that
night and predicted a fruitful
weekend. That didn't help much.
Not only was I convinced that he
commenced each encounter with
the same pat statement, but I also
resented the ease with which he
delivered his remarks. I was sure
that when I finally opened my
mouth, nothing would emerge but
a self-conscious stammer.
The rest of us weren't immedi-
ately inspired by Bob's soul-baring
remarks, but slowly, one-by-one,
we began opening ub. The anxiety
most of us expressed contrasted
sharply with the smooth state-
ments delivered by the Bloods -
veterans of two decades of encoun-
ter workshops.
From the tones of the shyly-of-
fered confessions, most of my
weekend cohorts were just as skit-
tish as I. Lenny, a slim, fair-hair-
ed high school senior squirmed
anxiously as each person neared

The Bloods engage in a workshop exercise

the end of his or her statement.
He knew his turn was nearing. As
the number of still-silent singles
dwindled to three, he finally be-
gan to speak.
"I feel forced to say something
right now, but I really don't want
to," he said, his baritone voice
quavering. "I don't know you yet
and I don't want to say anything
until I've had a chance to feel the
group out. I'm just not ready."
T RESPECTED his honesty and
wanted to tell him so, but we

desired friendship more than ro-
A, lengthy discussion of what
each of us expected from members
of the opposite sex eased the ten-
sion considerably and served to ex-
tract personal information from
each of the ten participants.
RICHARD, 32, who was quite
withdrawn despite his ability
to stare fixedly at others in the
group, confessed that his chief am-
bition was to get married. "At least
I think that's what I want," he

'The role playingt were so neatly structured and
supervised that you always completed them feeling
very good about yourself.
- Paul, A workshop participant
- . a m m ~ m e :m2 2 :: :::r:.::,:.:r:r:_.4 :f.:4::<i:":":::;.;:;:::::::::::,: r;y; ."n::;.}};{.}:14a

Margaret Blood

Bob Blood

Margaret's demonstration of Ti Chi
exercises, which she claimed put
us in direct contact with the energy
in the room.
What followed was a whole series
of inter-personal role-playing exer-
cises which were carried out with
the purpose of simulating real situ-
ations in our lives. I was skeptical
of these for one very important
reason: no matter what sort of
problem we dealt with, an accept-
able solution was always found. It
wasn't real.
"THE ROLE playings were so neat-
ly structured and supervised
that you always completed them
feeling very good about yourself;'
Paul, 22, told me following the
weekend. "They (the Bloods) were
there to build you up and I think
it's against their ideology to knock
you down-which just added to the
whole Disney World quality of the
weekend. What you had to do was
look at the role playings for what
they were-role playings."
After a while, each new role play-
ing or simulation exercise began
to blend together with the one
preceeding it and the one following.
The partners in the role playing
diads would change and the prob-
lems would take on a new twist,
but the end results always wound
up sounding the same. "Assert
yourself, demand your needs," the
See THE, Page 4


of clandestine conjecture.
Each of the ten came voluntarily,
and paying for the privilege be-
sides. Flyers advertising the work-
shop promised it would "increase
one's ability to make new friends
and deepen existing friendships
with persons of the opposite sex."
I assumed this would attract basic-
ally two types of people: those
lonely hearts who advertised in the
personals section for love and com-
panionship, and t h o s e who read
Psychology T o d a y articles about
swinging singles weekends and fig-
ured the workshop would supply
Ann Marie Lipinski is a Daily night
editor and staff writer.

Before my thoughts had a chance
to meander much further, the door
flew open and Bob greeted me with
an affectionate hug and Margaret
handed me a glass of warm fruit
juice before I had -a chance to re-
move my coat.
But their efforts were wasted.
The piercing stares that met my
eyes as I looked at the ohers in the
room immediately stripped me of
whatever warmth the Blood's ef-
fusive greeting had provided. Slow-
ly, we began exchanging tepid
hellos and Bob escorted me to a
chair near the nucleus of the group.
Amidst a sea of unfamiliar faces,

weren't allowed to respond to any
of the statements. That was a
harsh restriction to put on me -
someone who was accustomed to
asking all the questions.
Each time another person fin-
ished speaking, I felt as if I gained
a deeper insight into exactly why
people submitted themselves to
this type of potentially painful ex-
perience. It wasn't, as I had pre-
viously suspected, to engage in sex-
ual exploit or to search for a per-
manent. partner. What these peo-
ple sought was confidence and
self - awareness. They wanted des-
perately to be loved - and they

said. "You see, I'm a chronic de-
pressant. I'm depressed most of
the time. And when I first meet
someone, I can't say 'Hi. I'm feel-
ing lousy,' even though that's what
I'm feeling."
T WASN'T QUITE sure how his two
statements related, but I
wasn't up to questioning him.
Friday evening had drained us
all and I welcomed what little sleep
I was allowed, which wasn't much.
We were expected to be ready to
confront each other again at 7:30
a.m. By 8 a.m., we were scattered
around the living room mimicking




Hoarding fantasy, satire

THE DAY REMAINS vivid in my
memory. I was thirteen years
old, and I had just gotten home. I
went up to my room-and it was
empty, bare, stark. Every single
one of them was gone.
With fire in my eye I stormed
downstairs ready to confront the
"Mom!" I screamed.
"Yes, dear?" was the calm re-
"Where are my comic books?"
"I gave them away. You are get-
ting too old for them now, any-
I was crushed. I couldn't believe
it, over 5,000 comic books, my priz-
ed possessions, given away, and
probably to some dolt who read
Archie and Richie Rich instead of
Warlock and Spiderman.
For two days my mother re-

and roommate, Bruce Chew, was
a comic nut. He convinced me
that they were really for big kids
like us.
"Comics have a dual nature,"
Bruce says. "The action and ad-
venture appeal to young readers,
while the older reader is attracted
by the satire and sophisticated art-
Now Bruce and I both collect
comics, and we're not alone. Norm
Harris, owner of the biggest comic
book store in Ann Arbor, The Eye
of the Aggamotto (the Eye of the
Aggamotto is an amulet worn by
the comic book character Dr.
Strange, and is the source of all his
supernatural powers), says, "Com-
ics are big in Ann Arbor because
we've got a lot of college students
and a lot of kids. Collecting comics
is the same as collecting anything
else. It's all the same virus-some

ue is determined strictly by age.
'THERE ARE TWO kinds of peo-
ple reading comics today," he
says. "There's the casual reader
who likes an entertaining story,
and there's the fan who's concern-
ed with all aspects of comics."
'Aspects' of comics include art-
work, layout, character develop-
ment, and the entire presentation
of a particular story.
Some fans are fascinated by art-
work, the amount of detail present
in a face or muscular structure of
a sunerhero, and the detail in
background and scenerv shots. In-
novative artists like Jim Starlin
who draws Warlock, are usually
the favorites. Aside from careful
concern with detail. Starlin fre-
aientlv varipe the sire and shave
of nanels and often overlaps two or
more nanels. He is also a master
of parsnective-ennztantly altering

man mormm :*. .'.... mm mm

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