Men

Love As A Battleground

Have you ever fallen in love–I mean really, truly, head-over-feet in love–with someone, even though you *knew* it was a terrible idea? Like, you were already convinced when it started out, that you were about to bodyslam your own heart into a floor made of railroad spikes, but the visceral, unable-to-be-ignored pull of this person tugged you right off the platform of your own good intentions, and into the path of what was, in fact, a fucking train?

I have done that exactly 3 times in my life–and one of them was last year.

The first time, I was 17-going-on-18, and I can be forgiven. As the song so helpfully informs us, “young hearts are foolish; they make such mistakes. They are much too eager to give their love away…” and I really, really was. Think of the most hopelessly romantic teenager you know, times it by a factor of 3 or 4, make sure you imagine them as female, long brown hair, 100 lbs overweight and plagued by cystic acne and lopsided breasts, and that’s me.

Like Janis Ian, I learned the truth at 17. I got over it. I left one love for another, and had at least some comfort in being loved, however badly and selfishly and superficially, by the man I went on to marry.

We’ve been divorced since my youngest child was a toddler, but we’re on good terms, these days. And he gave my children just enough of his DNA to widen their eyes from the narrow slits their mother possesses, to give them a touch of effortless grace I will never claim, and some hint of slender proportion in the sweet clean lines of their little bodies. Also, he is much kinder to me, now that he doesn’t have to put up with my incessant demands, every day.

My ex-husband is not a bad man; merely a very weak one. I can’t blame another for a failing I share with them. And the boy I loved when I was 17 was too clever for his own good (or mine) too morally and ethically and intellectually fine to be ignored, but that was hardly his fault.

The man I fell for last year deserves at least some portion of the blame. He knew, going in, that he could never handle my polyamorous lifestyle… and he let me fall for him anyway. Made me fall, really–how dare he ham for me while driving, how dare he amuse me with a dozen flawless accents every time I ask, how dare he sing to me when it’s just the 2 of us, how dare he look at me with tears in his eyes while we make love.

But worse: how dare he tell me that if I can do this, he will do that? How dare he tell me that if I were more of one thing, he could love me fully? How dare he keep spinning the line that if I’ll just jump through this hoop, now this one, now this one, he’ll commit to me, to this lifestyle I share with the men I love, and try to make it work forever? “Whatever I do, you raise the same objections,” my Soldier.

He cannot love me the way I need to be loved, any more than I can stop loving him.

But I’ve seen this movie, and I know how it ends; and shame on me, for kissing him with my eyes closed so tight.

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Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker

So. How to say this delicately…

….I have a third, now. I’m going to have to start giving them nicknames or something, because “my fiancé” and “my boyfriend” just aren’t descriptive enough, anymore (and especially not when you could argue that I have 2 boyfriends).

I’m not actually going to call them the butcher, baker, and candlestick maker. I just thought that’d be cute for the title. I have decided to name them according to their attributes: okay, I’m keeping my fiancé, because that’s just the best description; he’s the one who keeps the home fires burning, the one who chips in with the bills, the one who assists me in my decision-making… he’s just generally the wind beneath my wings. Fiancé–until he becomes my husband–will always be appropriate for him.

The next one (chronologically, I mean–I am not in the habit of ordering my men into any other kind of ranking system) I’m going to call the Soldier. This is more of an in-joke (he’ll get it; it doesn’t take *too* much erudite knowledge to work it out, and if you know your Shakespeare, you’ll work it out, too) but it fits, in every way aside from his actual profession. Suffice it to say that he’s past the point in his life where he composes woeful ballads to his mistress’s eyebrows.

Finally, the new one–who I loosely contemplated just calling, “The Boy” and thought better of, since if everyone else gets a detailed description, why shouldn’t he?–I will be calling by the only suitable moniker available… the Jester. I will now attempt to describe (because this is the first entry about him, and he deserves a little time centre-stage) why that title fits him so well.

First of all, you may have gathered this already, but he’s quite young. Not creepily young, I haven’t pulled him in off the street on his way to school or anything, but he’s young enough that it gives me a frisson of… unease, periodically. I have chosen to make this slight hint of danger into a hint of spice instead, and am seasoning my meals accordingly. (That’s a sex joke! Enjoy.)

Secondly, and most unexpectedly, I find myself at my ease around him. I will do things in front of him that I would be nervous doing around anyone else… partly, I chalk this up to the fact that some of my siblings are much younger than I am, and so, I’m used to putting myself forward in front of that sort of audience; I’ve had years and years of letting go of my (enormous yet eggshell-brittle) ego, and saying, “Look, here, I’ll do it, you have a go as well, see, I’m not very good and *I’m* fine, you can give it a try!” because that is what the eldest child does. You make yourself go first, so the little ones don’t have to, and you let go of any notion of whether or not you’re good or bad or indifferent, and you just do the thing, because you’re being an example, and you want them to see that it’s okay to try, and fail, and try again–and in that way, in teaching your siblings how, you yourself get a chance to play (even when you’ve outgrown it, by rights).

I have also been a mother for nearly a decade, now. We don’t ever have to discuss THAT in detail during this entry, but the skills are much the same. In fact, my kids have made me *better* at, well, being an older sibling–just like being the eldest of 6 (the blood relatives, anyway) made me a better mother.

Moving back to the Jester. In classic jester style, he does put himself out there before I even get a chance to, but because of the age difference dynamic, I can join in (whereas I struggle, with people my own age). And even though this backfires (he’s younger, fitter, quicker, more agile, just plain prettier than I am) and I wind up looking less good by comparison with him, I don’t mind. I’m used to that–it’s the natural by-product of having 5 siblings, all younger than you, and all unfailingly superior in a variety of ways.

Final point (there are more reasons to call him a jester, but 3 is enough for now)–he makes me laugh. A lot. More or less constantly, in fact. In other words, he’s a… jester? Like every fool in every decent play, he’s funny because he’s clever, and he gets away with saying more than he should because you can’t deny the truth under the punchline. (He’s also shit-hot at general slapstick and clowning and pratfalls, with a wickedly expressive face, which helps–but it’s his quick wit that turns him into a jester, rather than a good-looking acrobat.) I don’t know how obvious it is, but I’m not the world’s most well-adjusted or upbeat person, and I *do* take it upon myself to be the leader of our little group of friends, plus being the head of my own household, plus often being the person that people go to with their problems… and somehow, I seem to wind up calling the shots, even when it’s not obviously my job to do so. There’s a running joke (running for over 5 years now–and is it even a joke?) that I’m the Queen of my own little kingdom (I know, it should be queendom, but gender norms are not welcome in MY kingdom). Whatever I call this, make no mistake, I am running this show, and *that* makes me the Queen.

And I don’t know about you–but I reckon the natural sidekick for the Queen, is her Jester.

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Love and Heartbreak, Part 1

So. Sorry (as much as I ever am) for my recent disappearing act. You know how it is: your life is full, so’s your time, you’re scribbling soppy poems on napkins but not uploading much of it as actual work.

Your boyfriend’s trying to break up with you. Etc.

It was inevitable, right? That’s got to be the consensus. For someone who’s apparently so good at polyamory, I’ve got a nasty habit of attracting serial monogamists to my little fold… it was only a matter of time before one of them broke ranks.

This one, though. He’s always been the troublemaker of the lot… oh, hell. I haven’t even mentioned *that* yet, have I? I’ve added to my flock–the duo has become a trio. And I need to talk about that before I get into the same thing happening in reverse, don’t I?

I’ll be right back–I’m off to write that hit blog entry, “never alone in my principles nor anywhere else” (and someone please tell me the movie reference, because it’s THE BEST).

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Polyamory, A Quick Point or Two (Also, on Prostitution…)

I’d apologize for the delay since I last blogged, but there was good reason for it; a thing happened, and I needed some time to process it. Having done so, I’m just going to make a few points:

1. This should go without saying–but as the saying goes, even a slut gets to choose their own sexual partners. Likewise, just because a person says yes once, doesn’t mean they mean yes every other time the option of sex is on the table… so anytime a person starts assuming there’s some sort of previously-given consent, at a time when their partner politely indicates they’d rather not shag, it’s a slippery slope.

2. Any time a person says, “If you don’t do A, I won’t do B,” that’s coercion; and it has no place inside any equilateral relationship. That kind of setting of boundaries, of actions and consequences, of options and rewards, belongs in a different relationship dynamic: parent/child, teacher/student, Domme/sub. And in the latter situation particularly, express (and regularly-reaffirmed!) consent is an absolute must.

3. A thing happened recently, and although I was in no physical danger (and did nothing against my own wishes–in the end) someone gave a darn good try at manipulating me into doing something I wasn’t so keen on. Like I say, it was a near-miss rather than what could have been an act of coercion and/or abuse… but that’s because I’m lucky and was with other people I could go to with the situation, and also, because I realized (in a kind of vague, I-just-won’t-do-that-and-will-analyse-it-later, way) that I was uncomfortable with a “suggestion” made by someone else, and so just didn’t do it. Good stuff, right?

But the fact remains. Not once, but twice in a span of a few days, someone gave me a sexual ultimatum and/or didn’t take no for an answer the first time I said it (and I allowed myself to be talked around, rather than being forced–but it’s still not a pleasant experience, lying there and weighing up the pros and cons of just going along with something, or standing up for yourself a little more firmly). Yesterday, I managed to work it all through in my head, and I had a little cry, and I’ve come away and done a little blog post now, and I feel significantly better for both of those. Mostly, though, I just think it’s shitty any time one person thinks they have some sort of proprietary relationship over anyone else’s sexuality.

Some people might think that the above situations are only the natural result of daring to live my life away from the boundaries of established convention–after all, if I’m living outside society’s rules, how can I expect them to protect me?–but that’s not the basis of polyamory AT ALL. On the contrary, polyamory is absolutely about choosing ones own sexual partners, every time, in every situation, and never feeling like you have to express love in a sexual way unless you really, truly want to, with that person. And if someone consistently refuses to play by the rules–because there *are* rules, in these kinds of relationships, the most sacred of which is respect for the people involved!–then maybe it’s time to let that person go.

After all, there is no romantic relationship model in which Person A has some unspoken right to choose whom Person B will have sex with… that’s a different dynamic again, and we call it the pimp/whore dynamic.

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Back to Sex and Boys (and Rock ‘n’ Roll?)

The time has officially come for me to stop crying over spoilt ballot papers and move back into more pleasing territory. I’ve been hovering around the edge of the Cliff of Mental Unwellness since the election results, and I can’t cope with it anymore. If I don’t find *something* else to talk about, I’ll wind up back on various medications, and I can really do without that… so I need something that’s guaranteed to make me smile.

So, men it is.

Nah, not really. But a little bit. Lemme tell you the tale.

So, I’ve got 2 fellas, we all know that. (Do we? All of us? Moving on.) The newest development, in the grand scheme of things, is that 1 of them is thinking about setting up a singing group with some of our other friends… and while I don’t sing–ever–in public or for public consumption, I *do* occasionally knock a line or two together for a friend (ta for that line, Bernie Taupin) and sometimes, I do it in the form of a parody. And while I’m no Weird Al, every so often, I put together something that’s actually a little bit good.

The thought of writing parodies for an actual singing group, of being involved creatively in some sort of collaborative writing, again… it makes the juices flow.

The creative ones, natch. Not talking about any other juices. Nope, not me, no way.

But while we’re on the subject, the vocal group (assuming it actually forms) will be a mostly-male group. (Do I count as a member, if all I do is shift rewritten lyrics and encouragement their way? Who knows.)

And who cares? Even if I were completely uninvolved, I think it would not tax me in any way, to go and watch a group of my mates (mostly male, did I mention…) doing the thing I find most attractive in the world, aka singing. Especially since they really make such an attractive group of lads anyway–and lads is about right. Not a one of them is older than me, and at least one is *significantly* younger. Like, really much younger. Like, in a would-it-be-funny-to-parody-Maggie-May, type of younger.

That sounds like a good idea, actually. Best get crackin’, then.

This is going to be so much fun.

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Polyamory, Revisited

So, I mentioned a while back that I’m exploring polyamory. I think I was pretty clear that, at the moment, I’m with 2 men and no more; and thus far, that seems to suit me (or it suits me better than my relationship with my partner was suiting me; for a variety of reasons, we’d grown… eh… a bit less close, but still deeply in love and committed to each other’s well-being). Our current situation does feel like something of a compromise–but then, when is love *not* a situation requiring compromise? (No, the compromise is not all on my lovers’ side, although I imagine that’s the first conclusion someone who doesn’t know the situation well might jump to.) One of the compromises I’m making involves exploring the ins-and-outs of polyamorous ideas and models, whether or not they coincide with my own ideals, and trying to ensure that my approach to my romantic relationships is as balanced as it can be. (I’m no great arbiter of balance and circumspection, you understand, but I do my poor best.)

Currently, I’m reading a book entitled, “The Art and Etiquette of Polyamory,” by Francoise Simpere, who’s something of a self-proclaimed expert on the topic. Don’t get me wrong, she has a lot of good points to make (many of them about the traditional roles of men and women, and the benefits of polyamory in redefining those roles) but I can’t help but think her ideals are so farfetched as to be virtually unobtainable. Without giving specific examples, there is a distinctly Utopian slant to the author’s writing, that makes it sound as if everyone in the world were capable of fostering relationships completely devoid of jealousy, possessiveness, or sordid curiosity. In one chapter of the book, she does address the “infidelity gene” that some people have (though she objects to its name) and muses that perhaps not *everyone* can reach these glorious heights of self-expression, romantic freedom, and boundless love… but overall, she certainly seems to think that it’s an ideal that’s perfect for many people.

Personally, I find I regularly vacillate between the 2 dominant views discussed in her book, namely, monogamy and polyamory. I can see numerous pros and cons to each; and, like the contrarian I am, I tend to admire the lifestyle I’m *not* engaging in at the time. (Yes, that’s a not-so-subtle hint that monogamy is starting to look more attractive to me, again–but in the clear understanding that, every time I’ve thought that and tried to practice it, I’ve come to the conclusion that 1 man is never going to be enough for me.)

If there is an infidelity gene (by which I mean, if that’s an accurate name for it) I have little doubt I’ve inherited it. As I love to say, my dad not only chases skirt, he chases it in much the same way as I chase trouser (similar MO, similar goals from what I can tell, similar rewards reaped in succeeding). And it’s not that I’m not more than the sum of my genetics–I am, as are we all–but there is a certain point which, when reached, does just leave you wondering why you would even bother to fight your nature. I’ve given up on the idea of eternal punishment (mostly) and I go out of my way to be kind and compassionate to my men (more so than many wives/girlfriends I know, at least as far as I can tell)… that ought to count for something. Right?

One final thought: I’m not going to load the dice by stating what it is… but I hope against hope and wish against wish that someone would ask the pertinent question, about the above.

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My Boyfriend(s?)

Well, so, here we are. I am finally giving a real reason for my unintentional hiatus from blogging; I’ve been out getting myself a boyfriend.

The twist in this plot, of course, is that I already have a fiancé… I have become a terrible cliché of wanting to have my cake, and eat it, too. Or have 2 cakes, and eat them both. Something like that.

The heck of it is, I don’t feel all that… I dunno… greedy. The 3 of us hang out, I spend time alone with each of the guys when I get the chance, and there are lots of areas where what I do with one guy, I don’t do much of with the other.

I mean, I have sex with both of them. Sometimes at the same time, even. And before you get the wrong idea, it’s like a sandwich; as long as the filling (I am the filling!) is ample enough (I am so ample!) the bread never really touches, if you see what I mean. Also, just for the record, my fella (fiancé) and I had an open relationship *before* I got myself a boyfriend, so, y’know. Sexually, not much has changed (that makes a difference to some people’s opinion of this, I know).

And emotionally, not as much has changed as you might think. I look at my fiancé, and I know, deep down in the marrow of my bones, that he is the foundation upon which I am building my life. I wouldn’t want to be without him for any length of time; I would certainly never want to leave him. Good God, what madness that would be… how sad my life would become, without him; he is always there, always in my corner, always looking out for me, holding my hand and cuddling me at night and loving me most out of everyone in the whole world.

I just happen to be in love with someone else, as well as my fiancé.

Don’t look at me like that! There’s a *huge* historical precedent for this sort of thing; just, historically, it’s always favoured the male of the species. Men have been having multiple wives since the concept of marriage was created, and I’m sure that in some cases (wealthy, sex-crazed man, and several less-sexually-charged, financially insolvent women?) it worked hella damn well. Works hella damn well, out in Utah, or so the TV would have me believe… I just want what plenty of men have been having since the dawn of civilization.

And you’d want it too, maybe. If you saw them both, both of my guys, and saw how well we all fit together, how where one stops meeting my needs, the other fits in like a puzzle piece… who *doesn’t* want that? Is it my fault, if I’m so mercurial that it takes 2 people to match all my moods and shifts and desires and ideals? I’ve said it before (when I thought my fiancé was thinking about leaving) maybe I’m just too much. Maybe no one can put up with me, in the long run.

But maybe 2 someones can.

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