Pathetic "polyamory" in Harper's Bazaar
Here's a case study in the kind of stuff we're increasingly going to have to deal with and educate about. The high-fashion magazine Harper's Bazaar (for "women who are the first to buy the best") yesterday published an article misleadingly titled "Inside the Rise of Polyamory Relationships." It's mostly a first-person tale by a monogamous married woman dealing with an unwanted come-on by a slick pickup guy at a ski resort using "polyamory" as his cover excuse.
|The May issue|
Stage 3 is the current absorption of poly concepts into the general population — where most people are not counter-cultural, are fine with how most things are, and have little experience in examining and deconstructing social constructs. Such folks tend to be unprepared for the depth and breadth of attitude-change it takes to do poly well for everyone involved. They generally don't want to become "weirdos," although living outside the mainstream is going to be weird by definition. Stage 3-ers often carry all kinds of unseen cultural baggage likely to end in screaming and tears.
Train wreck? As the Grateful Dead sang to Casey Jones, "Switchman's sleeping, Train Hundred-and-Two/ Is on the wrong track and headed for you."
Inside the Rise of Polyamory Relationships
By Alex Kuczynski
Frank Rothe/ Getty
My girlfriend Mary and I were listening to a band in the Limelight Hotel in Ketchum, Idaho. It was a starry February night and the crowd was enjoying a perfect après-ski evening. ...
She dug her nails into my arm.
“Oh, my God, it’s the hot guy I met at the dentist’s office,” she hissed. “And I’m not even wearing makeup. Crap.”
Her gaze turned, and a striking man walked directly toward us and asked if he could take one of the nearby empty seats. A ski instructor, he was tall, young, articulate, athletic, funny, with gorgeous unruly hair.
...I scrupulously avoided any flirtatious behavior or language, mentioned my husband, flashed my wedding ring, and assumed that would all project: This is not flirting. ... I’m skilled in this kind of deflection.
“Hi. I’m proposing the ultimate day date: You. Me. Ski. Hard. All day. Hike out to hot springs. Change clothes. Stop for a drink by the fire. You are gorgeous. What do you think?”
I literally dropped my phone. Then carefully typed out: “Um. Didn’t I mention I was married?”
His response: “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be presumptuous, but one of the best relationships I’ve had was with a married woman in a polyamorous marriage, and I was sort of hoping maybe that was your situation.”
Polyamory [means] long-term [not necessarily –Ed.] sexual [not necessarily] relationships with more than one partner, with the consent of all partners involved. It works like this: You are married to your husband, who is your Primary, and you want to have a lover, who will be your Secondary. You introduce your prospective Secondary to your Primary, and if he approves, you’re good to go. [Oh Christmas on a cross.]
...And certainly I keep hearing about it: from millennial friends, from married friends, and from a Lyft driver....
Still, something feels icky about polyamory, like it should be a sketch on Saturday Night Live. It also feels like an awkwardly puritan way to basically get laid on the side from time to time. “So much talking!” a French friend of mine said. “To cheat, you have to have a family meeting and all this conversation and details? Boring.”...
Then he told me something I have heard variations of from all kinds of people — monogamous people whose marriages have ground to a deadly stillness, from a couple in an open relationship who just couldn’t hack it anymore, from a gay man, from a couple who call themselves “monogamish”.... He looked into his pink beer and said, “It just ended in broken hearts.”
"Come round the bend, you know it's the end/ The fireman screams, and the engine just gleams."
The whole article (online April 30, 2019; in the May print issue).
Coincidentally, I'm reading the new book Dealing with Difficult Metamours by the wise and perceptive Page Turner of the Poly.Land blog. (Your metamour is another lover of your lover.) If you're new here and wondering what actually sets polyamory apart, let her take you to the root of it:
Metamour relations are a form of improv — sometimes hilarious, sometimes awkward, sometimes painful, sometimes glorious. But never dull.
It can be tricky navigating these friendships (and lots of them, if you’re well connected) that there simply is no script for.
Or is there?
...Being metamours with someone can be an awful lot like sharing a best friend. Sometimes you’ll run into cross-purposes when trying to make plans with your best friend. They’ll have made plans to go off and do something else with their other friend.
Sometimes, you’re welcome to come along too. But sometimes it isn’t something that can work out that way.
Just like a co-best friend, sometimes your metamour will become your best friend, too. But sometimes? It’s a regular friendship.
And in some cases, for whatever reason, you really don’t get along with them.
It's the ethic that, to at least some degree, "we're all in this together." Every relationship is to be respected, and like in an extended family — whether everyone likes each other or not — everyone matters.
If that makes you weird, then learn to be weird. Even if some think it's icky.
This is not for everyone.