"How the polyamorous celebrate Valentine's Day"
In San Francisco's major alternative newspaper, a columnist takes a few quizzical snarks at poly holiday predicaments. Aside from the heartfelt quote by Dossie Easton, not so much here about sharing the love.
G-Spot: U R Mine... and So Are U
How the polyamorous celebrate Valentine's Day
By Erikka Innes
Whether you're single or attached, Valentine's Day can be rough: either you're planning that perfect date, which can't possibly meet your special someone's expectations, or you're lamenting the fact that you don't have a special someone to disappoint. Either way, it's nothing compared to what the polyamorous have to deal with.
...Valentine's Day is not a simple affair for many members of the nonmonog community. The holiday, like the year-round polyamorous lifestyle, requires patience, tact, and one hell of a good scheduling system.
In fact, nature photographer and polyamorist Joe Decker says many of his peers call PalmPilots "PolyPilots." "You certainly hear a lot of jokes about it," Decker says.
In addition to the difficulties inherent in scheduling, Decker says, the way he chooses to celebrate Valentine's Day can sometimes result in unintended tension between him and people who are unfamiliar with the polyamorous community. For example, one year he ordered flowers for two girlfriends and his wife — all at the same time. "There was nervous laughter on the other end of the phone. The teleflorist dealt with it pretty gracefully," Decker says.
But not all polys feel that holidays need to be complicated. According to [Dossie] Easton, who has practiced polyamory since 1969, celebrating Valentine's Day is not that hard. "What you should do for Valentine's Day is have a big party with a very large box of chocolates. Everybody can wear red — I love it — and practice openheartedness," she says. She points out that in a polyamorous relationship structure, there isn't necessarily a need to choose whom to revel with. "There's no reason why a dozen people can't get together and celebrate Valentine's Day," she says. "There's no reason why you choose. Are we going to tell the kindergartners they can only give one Valentine's Day card because they can only have one friend?"
...While talking with these people, I was struck by a couple of things. First of all, holidays for the polyamorous must get pretty expensive, if, for instance, Decker's buying three bouquets for V Day is anything like a widespread practice.... And second, as someone who can barely manage her sock drawer, I don't think I could handle the level of organization needed to maintain several relationships. And without the organization, says another anonymous polyamorist, B, jealousy problems (the biggest obstacles in poly relationships) are more likely to arise. I'm not sure I want to add day planner to the list of things I think of — candles, flowers, scented oils — when I imagine romance.
Read the whole article (Feb. 5, 2008).
How does your poly group celebrate Valentine's Day? In response to this article, Anita Wagner (who runs the Practical Polyamory blog) asks people to share their ideas, experiences, and traditions here on the Chesapeake Polyamory Network yahoo group.
Labels: SF Bay Area