Last week there was a missed connection ad posted on Craigslist that was clearly meant for my girlfriend. Something about “you were the hott butch (sic) and I was the femme in the white tank top, we shared a smoke.” It goes on to suggest that they might run into each other again, and it lists a few places that my special lady friend frequents, which gives it a nice stalkerish touch. There’s no mention of passionate snogging outside the club, which is probably why my darling didn’t mention this friendly little tete a tete. And regardless, there’s really no reason for me to get my panties in a bunch. Extra curricular activity is totally sanctioned within the tenets of our relationship. We are, as they say, a polyamorous couple. Sorta kinda.
“I’m only interested in dating other people because you say I should,” explains my rather put-upon girlfriend. “We have enough trouble just dealing with all of our ex girlfriends, I can’t imagine adding another current one,” Anne says adds as she rolls her eyes.
The thing is, it’s not that I actually want to have multiple partners, it’s that I really hate rules. If I see a rule, I want to break it. And if you forbid me to sleep with someone, that person becomes irresistible. And the more I think about it in this manner, the more I start to wonder; is poly just another word for slutty?
“You have no boundaries,” I was recently told by my friend M. This is coming from a woman who lives in an ongoing triad relationship and runs pansexual sex clubs.
I do have some; they are just different than other peoples. For instance, I think much like Aloha, French kissing is a perfect way to say hello or good-bye. Or as my ex put it, “Making out is just like hugging, but with tongue.”
“Can Danielle come home with us and watch us have sex?” I asked my lady one night when we’d just started dating. Danielle is one of my closest friends, and it seemed like a nice way to get her and my girlfriend to be comfortable around each other. It’s so much cozier than brunch. “Are you serious?” stammered Anne, which I assumed meant no.
It used to be that everyone around me agreed making out was good sport. All my friend’s relationships were fluid and filled with casual hook ups. But gradually everyone around me paired up and settled down. No one ever wants to go to the sex club with me these days. They all want to stay home and experiment with new recipes. “I’m too tired to be poly anymore,“ said D when I asked about her relationship recently.
I just read an article about these trendy high school kids in New York that are into getting together in big groups and rolling around on each other affectionately, kind of like giant pandas. They hook up into little groups of two or three and fool around with no worry about couple loyalty or sexual orientation. “I totally relate to that!” I said as I showed the article to my roommate. “Except those kids are too young to drink and you’re in your thirties,” he replied.”
“Getting it on with everyone is only ok if you are totally single, it doesn’t work when you have a partner,” says Adian, a former boy toy turned serious boyfriend.
“But I thought you wanted to be in an open relationship?” I said to him.
“Not anymore. That was just the first few weeks. I don’t want to watch Steven make out with lots of guys. If for no other reason than it’s unhygienic.”
“Doing it with more than one person is way too hard,” says Melissa, one of my oldest friends. Melissa and I fooled around a few times about a million years ago, back in the day when we were both just bi-curious, or “bi now, gay later” as I’ve heard it called. In fact, we didn’t just fool around with each other; we fooled around with each other, and each other’s friends, girlfriends. Sometimes all at once. But now she’s happily partnered up and living in the suburbs with her girlfriend, their dog, and cat. “Just thinking about having an open relationship exhausts me. I’m definitely too old to be polyamorous,” she says.
“It does seem like a perfect way to live, you know, everyone just trusts everyone and learns to work on their jealousy and possessive shit, “ says Jennie, a formerly poly friend of mine with a graphic design business. “But I work so much I don’t really have time for it now.” And then she adds the final blow, “Maybe what you need is a real job.”