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Polyamory and Thanksgiving awkwardness (avoided in the name of humor)) November 25, 2011

Posted by shaunphilly in Culture and Society, Polyamory.
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So yesterday, while visiting my mom for Thanksgiving, something amusing happened.  After dinner, while sitting around and watching some TV and whatnot I got up to get my phone which was charging in the kitchen.  By some irrelevant idiosyncrasy of social interaction it came to me to give reason for my getting up, and I said that I had to check my phone for text messages from my girlfriend.  This brought some degree of mirth to a guest with whom I was barely acquainted, and she made some comment about how funny I am.

Because, you know, my fiance was right next to me.  I’m obviously making some joke about my girlfriend which only exists for the sake of such jokes. I couldn’t actually, like in real life, have a girlfriend and a fiance as well.  And even if I was that kind of douche bag, I would not make such an announcement with my doting fiance so close by, as that would be inhuman.  What kind of monster am I?

And this is a phenomenon I have noticed for many years among the normals.  There are these jokes about girlfriends, flirting between couples, and so forth which exists at the surface of monogamous life.  Especially if some drinks are being served, there is a hilarity about these comments.

But only when it’s a joke.

I did not correct her in her mistake that I was joking.  I did not say “Actually, I really am texting my girlfriend.  In fact she is my fiance’s girlfriend as well.”  This is because not only was I so amused by the moment that I didn’t really think about it, but by the time it occurred that some consciousness-raising would be possible, the moment had passed.  And so it passed as a mere joke, to be forgotten.

But had I done so, I imagine that it would have dropped with some weight on the room.  Yes, my mo knows about Gina, but she does not exactly advertise my uncommon lifestyle to the world.

So what is it about this levity of non-monogamy in the normal world while its reality is so often threatening, strange, and jealousy-inducing?  Why do normal monogamous people find it so funny to joke about straying but find it so, well, scary in reality?

I’m sorry to say, I don’t have any solid answers to this question right now.  I think that it is sufficient to make the observation and allow it to sit on my mind for a little while.  Perhaps I’ll some up with something brilliant this weekend.

Or, I’m just to lazy to compose such brilliance right now.  Whatever works for you, my dear reader.

 

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Comments»

1. Cory Brunson - November 25, 2011

Sounds like a success story to me, if we’re talking about absolving prejudice: Anyone else present (at least your mom, i gather) who knows of but may be uncomfortable with your relationships has now been given a bird’s-eye view of your place — or lack thereof — in the ambient culture. You weren’t overbearing or defensive, so there’s no way to paint you the less mature of the parties involved, the one being genuine, not making a scene, not making assumptions.


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