Washington Post writer ponders a poly solution for "The Bachelor" season finale
The Washington Post writer who was so deeply impressed by local polyfolks last month shares some wistful musings about yesterday's season finale of "The Bachelor."
That's ABC's dating-game reality show, in which a marriageable guy begins the season with a pool of two dozen women to eliminate one by one; he is expected to propose marriage to the finalist.
‘Bachelor’ Ben Higgins says he’s in love with two women. That’s not so surprising.
On “The Bachelor” finale, Ben Higgins chooses between
Lauren Bushnell and Joelle “JoJo” Fletcher. (Matt Dunn/ABC)
By Lisa Bonos
If “The Bachelor’s” Ben Higgins weren’t forced to pick one woman and propose tonight, would he continue dating both of them?
I think so.
...While the show’s timeline of professing love, meeting the family and getting engaged feels more 1950s than 2010s, the concept of dating more than one person at a time and choosing between multiple options is only becoming more common, not less.
But you know what else is becoming more common: Not limiting yourself to just one partner. Polyamory, the practice of having multiple romantic relationships, with the knowledge of everyone involved, is becoming more mainstream....
I doubt Higgins is a polyamorist trying to force himself into monogamy. However, his professions of love to both Lauren Bushnell and Joelle “JoJo” Fletcher (unheard of in “Bachelor” history) are a reminder that monogamy is becoming less and less common.
For all the ways that “The Bachelor” is stuck in the past — its lack of diversity, for example, and the old-fashioned gender roles baked into the show — this however accidental and short-lived embrace of polyamory is the most progressive and interesting thing that’s happened this season.
When I spent some time reporting on polyamorists around Higgins’ age, they talked a lot about what it was like to be in love with multiple people. “The love you feel feels different,” Rachel Ruvinsky, a 22-year-old polyamorist told me, “not terms of quantity or quality, just how it feels.”
...“One clever solution to the unique dilemma the bachelor is in, would be to offer both finalists a relationship, more specifically, to be polyamorous,” says Rhonda Balzarini, a PhD candidate studying polyamorous relationships at Western University in Ontario.
...As bland as Higgins seems to be, Balzarini thinks he could actually make a fantastic mainstream ambassador for polyamory. “Ben is boring enough to sit down and have long conversations,” Balzarini told me. And because “polyamory requires you to negotiate everyone’s needs and make sure everyone feels met and understood, it requires an extreme capacity to communicate.”
...But is America ready for a polyamorous Bachelor? Balzarini thinks so. “We’re in need of some vocabulary to have these conversations,” she says....
Read the whole article (March 14, 2016).
Gee, I remember 48 years back, when I thought I was nearly the only one in the world who saw these stereotyped love-choice tragedies through utopian eyes — and hearing Grace Slick quietly singing, "I don't really see / Why can't we go on as three?" *
* The refrain of "Triad," on the Jefferson Airplane's Crown of Creation album. As far as I've been able to tell, that song (written by David Crosby; lyrics) was what established "triad" as the poly term for a relationship of three. That was in 1968. Can anyone find an earlier use of it this way?