ADULT: Recent controversies between Mardi Gras and the polyamorists prompt Barry Lowe and his friends to debate love, marriage and monogamy.
“Who’s this drag queen the Mardi Gras tried to ban from the parade?” Chuck asked, as usual getting his facts all stuffed up. He reads and listens with only one eye and one ear open. “Polly Amory or something.”
“Oh, her,” Gavin laughed. “You can’t take her anywhere. She’s such a slut.”
He winked at me. He does so love getting a rise out of Chuck. Eww, as he would say, not that sort of a rise. Chuck is very definitely not his type. For starters, he smokes. Secondly, he can be a bit dim. As evidence, I give you his next sentence.
“I don’t mind slutty drag queens,” Chuck said. “Think she’d be interested in me?”
Gavin can be vicious sometimes. “She’s slutty, not blind.”
Chuck was bewildered. “Why would Mardi Gras ban a slut? The parade’s full of them. Plus they have a party called the Sleaze Ball, for god’s sake.”
“Um, Chuck, you’ve got the bull by the wrong horn,” I explained. “It was a group of polyamorists who wanted to enter a float and I think some of them may have been slightly hetero.”
Chuck was bewildered, having trouble keeping up. “What’s a polyamorist?”
“Someone who believes you can be in more than one loving relationship at a time,” I answered simplistically.
“Oh,” Chuck sneered. “Is that just a fancy name for Mormons?”
“Listen dickwad,” Gavin said. “That’s Polly’s married sister, polygamy. Where a guy has more than one wife. And Mormons aren’t officially permitted to do that any more.”
They traded insults backwards and forwards for the best part of half an hour. The trouble is there are so many definitions to words these days it’s hard to know if you’re ménage, adulterous, cuckolding or polyamorous. Or just plain slutty.
Wally and I, rapidly heading for our fortieth anniversary, have had a polyamory relationship for much of the time although some of our friends believe we’re now much too old to be having sex at all. We don’t proselytise or stand on street corners extolling with missionary zeal the virtues of our lifestyle. It works for us, that’s all we care about. Whether it’s a long-term shared relationship between us and a young bisexual man, or whether it’s Wally and another man with whom he shares a love relationship while simultaneously loving me, the salient point in polyamory is that it’s sanctioned ‘cheating’.
The relationships are open and consensual. As someone else with more flair than me put it, it’s responsible non-monogamy.
“Of course,” Gavin added, “It’s the nightmare scenario that so many conservative gays wish would go back into the closet or could be swept under the carpet, especially during the gay marriage debate. You know, I think that debate’s been hijacked. It’s degenerated into this sentimental bullshit where gays are trying to out-mawkish straights to prove our love is as good as theirs.
“Fuck that! Gay and lesbian sex is so fuckin’ superior to what most straights get up to that’s why we want more than one guy at a time.”
“I think that’s called gangbang not polyamory.”
Gavin looked sheepish. “They even have their own flag. It’s blue, red and black stripes with a pi symbol in the middle. Plus they sometimes use a parrot as a symbol.”
I laughed. “You’ve been at the Wikipedia again, haven’t you?”
“But Arnott’s biscuits use a parrot as their logo,” Chuck pointed out.
Gavin’s eyes lit up. “Shit, I wonder if I stand around the biscuit aisle at Woolworths whether I’ll get picked up. It could be better than Grindr.”