“I’ve always been weak to normal types,” said Nico Franc.
Photo by Connor Betterly
Polyamory is rising in recognition and favorability among young people, but legal protections for polyamorous relationships remain scarce. In his non-traditional bid for wider legal acknowledgment of polyamorous relationships, UC San Diego sociology doctoral student and self-proclaimed “gamer” Nico Franc recently accrued significant media attention for his decision to push the ever-popular format of the nuzlocke into the domain of relationships on his Twitch channel.
“The nuzlocke was born when a webcomic artist at UC Santa Cruz invented a new Pokémon challenge run as a way to avoid studying,” Franc explained in his December 27 YouTube video. “The challenge relies on two main rules: only capturing the first Pokémon encountered in a new area, and ‘permadeath,’ or releasing a Pokémon if it ever faints.” Franc further detailed the rationale for his “spin” on the challenge. “Many of my friends are poly and bisexual, so we would all end up dating the same people — that is, if we actually had lives outside of our research. Honestly, I might be making myself unappealing to all potential suitors with how much I keep my head in books. I play a lot of nuzlockes, so I thought I might combine ethical non-monogamy activism with my New Year’s resolution to get out more. Introducing the relationship nuzlocke!”
Franc picked 10 dating apps on which he would only ask out the first person he matched with. “Once I’ve assembled my team, we’re going to attend town halls throughout the election season, with the end goal of getting audiences with four big politicians. Hopefully that will include Mike Johnson, because he’d be horrified by a Native bisexual man and his charity polycule.” Franc then clarified his goals for the challenge. “Full disclosure, I’m pretty sure I’m monogamous. If all I get out of this is some new friends, that’s still a win for my social life. Hopefully this doesn’t awaken anything in me.”
Franc reported on his progress in a later stream. “I met a 23-year-old bear on Grindr and a 57-year-old divorcée on Tinder. She has a kid my age. And of course, chat’s favorite: Snapchat Steven from the gas station down the street. They’re all really nice. Except for Hinge Amy, who won’t talk about anything besides WD-40. I’m worried she might break up with me and I’d be down a partner with actual activism experience.”
Franc’s average viewership increased from 50 to 2,000 on his “IRL date streams,” most recently from San Diego lesbian bar, Gossip Grill. Many Twitch chatters have expressed distaste for the challenge, citing “Christian values.” One tweet asserted that “dating multiple people for charity is like playing Russian roulette with dicks,” and Franc should be “jailed and canceled” as a “pimp” for attending a
lesbian bar with one of his dates. Others have vocally supported Franc, arguing that a white streamer would not face the same criticism. “There are, in fact, bi women in lesbian bars. Not to mention, polyamory isn’t inherently sexual, and whatever consenting adults get up to in their own time is their own business,” said one commenter in the replies.
Franc’s streams have raised almost $20,000 for charity. In a recent tweet, Franc teased that the challenge “had, in fact, awoken something in [him].” In a video uploaded the following day, Franc shared his newly-discovered polyamorous identity and reservations about his content. “I’m grateful for the new viewers, but I can’t please everyone. I get a lot of extra flak as a person of color. I’m just sorry to my haters that me and my three beautiful weed-smoking girlfriends are already meeting with Senator Padilla next week to talk about marriage equality in California.”
Kaz Nuckowski is a Copy Editor for the Muir Quarterly. They are usually found in Half Dome laughing and encouraging students to share their wit or giving their own suggestions to make everyone else laugh. Never doubt Kaz and their skills because they will surprise you, especially when the spread has a comic open and they are feeling inspired!