I do more than bullet points. Namely, runon paragraphs.

So we’ve started catching up on Big Love. Weird. Very weird. But that’s my own weirdness, I suppose, and I think most of that is due to Bill Paxton himself. Or just Mormon-aversion from reading dooce. I remember from my gen ed sociology class in college that very few cultures practice one-wife-multiple-husband polygamy, polyandry, but many practice the inverse, polygyny, basically better known as plain old polygamy. Let’s see, let me google that for myselft….and…yes. The only example I can recall is Tibet. But of course, there are more. Fascinating that it seems to be a phenomenon of desperation for the most part, while depictions of the classic polygamy situation sort of breed desperation. Polygyny’s wikipedia article is much longer, on the whole, I assume mostly due to there being more instances of and thus more controversy attached to the practice, controversy especially in the western world due to the fundamentalist Mormon sects. Maybe. Anyway, after reading at Feministe about Frau Sally’s arrangements, I tried to wrap my own mind around it, polyamory, either way. I just don’t think I’ve ever felt compersion, let alone known it was a thing you could find on wikipedia. I mean, is that really something you’d ever spontaneously just feel, or something you’d have to try pretty hard to talk yourself into..? Granted, I come from a culture in which monogamy is the ideal, at least superficially. I probably just have way too much Bill Paxton in my head, but it seems to me that whole thing is just sanctioned cheating…so it’s not cheating. Or something. And yet, there’s still cheating. The whole subplot (Spoiler Alert, as if) of hubby having lunchtime quickies with the first wife, even on the other two wives “nights” is so….weird to me. In the end they just had to break it off, it was the right thing to do, and it was kind of heart-wrenching, yet….they’re still married! Weird. Because the whole point of cheating being cheating is the surreptitious part, no? In this little foursome, the women all KNOW he’s sleeping with all of three of them; they arrange the schedule themselves according to who’s ovulating when! But the hottest (if you could call it that, BILL’S ASS) parts are when he’s fucking one in the other one’s bed, using her words (blue eyes), and when he carries on the “affair” with the original wife, and they of course feel horribly guilty about it. Because that’s the attraction, yeah? Mostly. The wrong part. Because you think it’s wrong. You anticipate the guilt. Whatever. I don’t know where I’m going with this one. Just been a lot of multiple lovers going across my screens. It squicks me out, to see such direct honesty about it, as in Big Love, but perhaps that’s more the presentation in a situation comprised mostly of patriarchy with a few obligatory feminist-ic undercurrents in there in order to try to not be totally offensive. I just can’t imagine sitting down with a person that I love, or even one in another hypothetical life that I even thought I maybe could love, and being all, meh, go on, enjoy. Have fun, be careful! No. That’s what you say to kids when they almost forget their mittens, not to your lover. Makes me feel narrow minded to say that, but I suppose knowing one’s own proclivities isn’t the same – I hope – as passing judgement on another. As always, whatever’s clever.

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8 thoughts on “I do more than bullet points. Namely, runon paragraphs.

  1. suntzusays says:

    Inuits? Hello? You have to go all the way to Tibet to remember polyandry when Canada would have sufficed? Having had a couple Mormon friends through high school I would qualify to say it's decidedly not a mainstream Mormon thing now to practice any form of polygamy. And breakaway sects are hardly the only incidence we've had around here (think cults, think Waco). As much as I am not a fan of any particular religious institutions on any organized way, Mormons are entitled to their delusions in the same way (other) Christians are. I will save my fights with them for things like Prop 8 (and other interventions into public policy) rather than their historical development of unconventional marriage systems with multiple partners (a development which isn't uncommon in other religions: Islam and early Christians/non-Catholics). If they were still busying themselves selling off young girls to be brides or sexual consorts, I think we could go to war over that. Speaking as a male, the compersion issue comes up a bit more if dating a woman with broadly different sexual interests; ie, other women. I'm not sure I disagree that any thing like that would just be sanctioned cheating. But I do at least think a relationship where that (or any other polyamorous practice) emerges as a possibility at least benefits from honestly and openly broaching the subject. Even if only to decide against it because of some feeling of jealousy or confusion, rather than going the secret cheating route. Presumably the calculus involved is basically the same for a desired heterosexual affair within the context of a relationship. The main variable being a risk of kids. As I recall, Diamond postulated that's why we're generally monogamous in the first place, because it provides an evolutionary guarantee for our genes to be passed on as males and for women for a male to help care for the infant. Since more of our relationships in the modern world don't revolve around children (or at least, we're more aware that we can have such relationships than previous epochs of human history), I'd guess this single attachment mode may start to be considered more optional, but I don't think it will alter the individual mindset of people raised with a monogamous identity to be any less squeamish about it anytime soon either.

  2. Inuits weren't covered in my class for some reason; so yeah, had to google that one. I didn't know that! And I didn't think this was a common Mormon thing, by any stretch. No, obviously that type of compersion would be much more common…and probably veers more toward voyeurism anyway. Even if a guy likes the idea of that, he probably wants to see it happen more than he wants to send her off and imagine what she's into…I would think. I guess I was trying to wrap my own mind around it from a hetero perspective. I suppose your last paragraph is a good explanation for why it makes little sense to me.

  3. suntzusays says:

    It could veer that way. If it was the guy's suggestion. My understanding of compersion is that it is basically like a weird little quirk of affection, that you'd be pleased by their pleasures, even if you weren't supplying them. Most people get too jealous instead to have that reaction take any shape. So I might expect that something like a bisexual partner with polyamorous tendencies (which is most certainly not all bisexuals) would be the out clause for most people to figure this out. Most people are uncomfortable with even that much sanctioned cheating, so a hetero expansion on that theme becomes really dysfunctional. I'm not sure the last paragraph actually made a whole lot of sense. I covered all the compass points without really saying much. It's probably okay for people who can make it okay. But otherwise, it seems complicated.

  4. Yeah, I can wrap my mind around something like non-sexual compersion, if there's really such a thing. I mean, if I see or think of Mike having a good time with his buddies, or know that he has female friends with whom he has meaningful exchanges, I'm happy for his pleasure….but sexually, how do you jump past the nausea that comes even before the jealousy? Squicky. I don't know. Your example is a good one. I suppose it follow rationally that by definition mono-hetero relationships don't have much room for it.Made sense to me! I agree…fine for those who are fine with it, surely. I think I could almost see it as a once-in-a-lifetime kinda thing, but it really seems like making that a normal part of long term relationships would be incredibly self-stifling. Like you said, complicated!

  5. suntzusays says:

    Right. The experience with people who don't seem to grasp the idea that someone can have a good time when they're not around them, and perhaps by extension, with others is a good corollary to this. Those are separate relationships with their own levels of intimacy. You'd have to be able to place sex in a context where it's an activity engaged in by other people with a loved one for their (mutual) pleasure for that to work. I don't see most human beings getting to that point. There's just too much emotion and chemical response to sex to get riled up over. For an example befitting your one time exception:http://deadspin.com/157976/kirilenkos-wife-lets-him-sleep-with-other-women-other-women-say-uh-thanks-but-no-thanks

  6. Whoa! Hilarious. Okay, Mormons…come and get some! LOLOLOLOL. I suppose that's kind of like the celebrity list wherein each person gets to name five people that if they meet and have the opportunity, they are allowed to sleep with them without fear of consequence doled out by their partner. Mike calls them his "tickets," as in, "I'd cash in a ticket on her." It's funny, though, I don't really remember making that agreement, and his list has never been laminated, the ladies' names keep changing! Hahahahahaaa….

  7. suntzusays says:

    Friends episode right? I would think it's the inverse of that in his case, but yes. If you can conceive of that as being acceptable (and most people, eventually, tolerate their partners drooling over some celebrity), I'm not sure where the gap arrives that some normal attainable person is on the list instead. In theory, same thing. Celebrities are after all people. Not eye candy.

  8. Yup! Right. I think it's the odds, attainability, like you said. Mike runs into Jennifer Anniston, okay, I can't say I'd blame him, but if it really happened I really doubt I'd be actually HAPPY for him. Hah.

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