You would think with all…

You would think with all my years of being poly, and all my sex writing, I'd be over the social awkwardness parts by now. But I'm really not. Jed was visiting all of last week, and now that Kev and I are living in the suburbs (cue creepy music), and now that to the casual glance, we look like any other typical Oak Park family as we wander the streets with our double stroller and dog, I find that it takes a little extra effort on my part to break that illusion.

So, for example, while I'm perfectly happy to wander around WisCon or various strange cities holding hands with Jed and snuggling, I have to overcome a little self-consciousness about doing that in Oak Park. It's a village -- after barely a year of living here, I already tend to run into people I know everywhere -- the grocery store, the yarn shop, the library, etc. and so on. And most of them don't know about the poly thing yet. So I know exactly what they'll think if they see me holding hands with some guy they don't know.

Well, actually, I don't know exactly what they'll think. They'll probably be confused. I mean, I'm obviously not having some kind of secret affair, since I'm not being very secret about it. What do monogamous folks assume in that situation? And do they worry that if I'm clearly not being faithful to Kevin, I'm going to come after their husbands? (I'm not just making this up, by the way -- more than one woman has said this to me. Sigh.)

I want to have female friends in Oak Park! I don't want to be ostracized like Hester Prynne at the playground, the grocery store, the schoolyard. Perhaps I should wear a button: your husband is safe with me!

Which of course makes me immediately want to add another button: you, on the other hand...

Just kidding. Sort of.

Anyway, it was lovely having Jed here for the week -- he was a great help in getting me through some of my backlogged projects (we're actually caught up on recycling, for example, rather than having Kavi's room filled with un-broken-down boxes -- apparently, California boys are very good at recycling). And while I didn't have a lot of free time -- mostly we got to hang out while watching the kids -- Kev did kindly let us have an evening off from kid-duty so we could do dinner and a movie.

Funnily enough, the movie, Easy A, which I strongly recommend for funny, sweet, a fabulous tribute to 80s teen John Hughes movies as well as Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, and featuring a totally endearing protagonist (and her parents, whom I would like to be when I grow up), also managed to teach me a good lesson. Or rather, remind me of one I already knew, but apparently have to learn over and over again.

If I choose to go back to Jed's hotel room with him after the movie, and happen to run into someone I know on the way, it really is none of their business what we're doing there. They can speculate as much as they like, of course. And I'm pretty sure in a small village like this, I won't be able to stop them.

Really, the easiest solution is for Jed to come visit a lot more often, so that people quickly figure out the whole poly thing. I think that should work well. :-)

7 thoughts on “You would think with all…”

  1. I agree with David! And with you about the buttons 😉 .

    I have a question: is Kevin in another relationship these days? If so, maybe you can each walk along with your respective other loves, snuggling away. There can be some comfort in numbers.

  2. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    Elena; he’s not at the moment. It’s a problem with being an introvert — it’s harder for him to pick people up than it is for me. 🙂

    I agree, if he were, that would definitely help with the visibility thing!

  3. Oh, that’s too bad. I understand that, though, being something of an introvert myself.

    You joked in a recent entry about having once brought him a beautiful girl. Perhaps it is time to figure out how to do that again 🙂 !

  4. I feel for your struggle with this. My neighbours, after a year, are clearly wondering about what’s up but have not worked up the nerve to just ask.

    My favourite was the other day, when next-door-neighbour stopped to chat as I was getting groceries out of a friend’s car (I always seem to have a different car since I don’t drive one myself. I think it was Jed’s that week.) “and who is the woman with the yellow car?” pointedly “The blond woman.” She had clearly been working on this question for awhile. Crafting her delivery just so.

    “Oh!” I said cheerily, “that’s *our* good friend K.”

    I think this didn’t really help her out, but it made me laugh.

    What I hate is the implicit assumption that one of us must be hurting the other, or must be naive about What Is Obviously Going On. I figure they’ll work it out over time. I like holding hands in public, and kissing my girl on the front steps, and snuggling with my boy pretty much anywhere. But it’s a balance. I also hate for the fact that I’m poly to be the only thing someone knows about me.

  5. Or you could get a customized license plate that says PROUDSLUT, or somesuch. That’ll clear it all up. And the kids are not quite old enough to be mortified by you yet, so that’s ok.

  6. PS in case not clear — that was a joke suggestion.

    Proud of you for living your life despite the what-will-people-think factor.

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