A month ago I mentioned a New Jersey newspaper columnist's dismissive freakout about the concept behind Showtime's Polyamory: Married and Dating. Apparently some of you wrote him well-considered letters, enough that he's now written a second, much more conciliatory column about your responses. What struck him in particular was how closeted poly people feel they need to be, unlike people who just date around.
Multiple lovers, stuck in the closet
By Jeff Edelstein
So a few weeks ago, I wrote a piece about the Showtime reality show “Polyamory: Married and Dating” and, you know, had some fun with it. After all, it is a show about a bunch of people having sex with a bunch of people of other. Fun.
Anyway, little did I know that real polyamorous people — you know, those not having sex on camera for money — are, in large part, completely, 100 percent “in the closet.” Their families don’t know. Their employers don’t know. No one knows....
Why? Because they’re fearful their families would shun them, their employers would fire them, everyone will look at them like sex-crazed fiends....
“This lifestyle choice isn’t all hedonism and group sex,” one “poly” person told me via Facebook. “It’s mostly based on all the normal, mundane yet wonderful stuff you ‘monos’ experience on a daily basis (like) grocery shopping, TV, spats over who has to mow the lawn. I felt compelled to let you know that the ‘everyone sleeps with everyone’ style of polyamory depicted in the show is not indicative of every poly relationship out there.”
Another poly person echoes the point.
“It is like any other group dynamic,” she said. “OK, so that is over-simplifying it, but it is true.”
And both these people were adamant about staying anonymous.
“I myself am afraid to ‘come out’ as poly at my place of work for fear that someone’s small-minded judgement might cost me my job,” one said.
Same goes for the other person, who at first posted her thoughts on my Facebook page.
“I realized that it may cause problems where I work,” she said. “I have no problem answering any questions about it, but I work for the state and, well, you understand, I hope.”
Actually, I didn’t understand, but I do now....
All throughout history — both human and American — there have been people who didn’t fit into whatever the norms were of that time. In time, the norms change, and we change with them. Gay people certainly know what I’m talking about here.
And maybe it’s time we all try to let go of all the rest. Who cares if someone is poly, or gay, or bisexual, or asexual, or, or, or, or.
“Sometimes it is annoying when my friends and family ask when I am going to settle down and finally get this out of my system,” said one of those poly people above. “So are the looks I get when I show up to a BBQ held by and attended by friends I have had for 20 plus years with the man I live with and a man I am dating. Other people are uncomfortable but we aren’t.”
Well, I’m going to try and not be uncomfortable by the way anyone lives their sexual lives. I still don’t get rooting for [both] the Yankees and Eagles, but one thing at a time. I can only emotionally grow so much in one column.
See the original article (Aug. 28, 2012).