The Aftermath — Part IV, Sex and Secrets and


“It has never been a secret but there are people who didn’t know,” I wrote a couple of months ago. “It really is simple. Anne and Nancy are two beautiful ladies. Why ever would I not want share my love for them with the world?”
Despite the openness of this series, Nancy and I have been reticent to come out of the closet in our mainstream lives.

“That has less to do with freaking out,” Nancy said, “and more to do with the fact that most people don’t have to make a big deal out of their lifestyles because they step up to the ‘normal’ line.”

I like that. Anyone can read those blogs but the number who do so far seems limited to people we know and people we have invited. Plus the odd spammer. I’m not interested in having a relationship with the latter. And as points out, “Polyamorous people generally discuss their [private] lives much in the same way others do: rarely, and only with people around whom they feel comfortable doing so.” It’s much the same as talking about politics or religion. Except, of course, that elsewhere on these pages I bash politics and religion, too.

“One of the most awkward things that can happen in a pub is when your pint-to-toilet cycle gets synchronized with a complete stranger,” Peter Kay said.

Keeping secrets = not sharing?

Secrets, not sharing: I’ve wondered about my Relationship status on Facebook. Only Mr. Zuckerberg knows why I can’t write “with Anne” and “with Nancy” but I know why I haven’t. Yet. We haven’t quite come out that far. We have cow orkers as friends. We have children. I have grandchildren. They all can read the poly blogs but they haven’t called us on them (yet).

A better status line might be “ask me and I’ll probably tell you.”

Not sharing = keeping secrets?

I will mostly answer any question asked but I volunteer only what I want you, dear reader, to know or what my audience expects to know. And I’m careful with restroom timing. That’s not sharing but it does mean I have one or two secrets.

Like knowing where to park in Key West.

The sharing question fits in with Nancy’s trip planning. She visited the Keys and told TUFKAS only generalities about the trip. I visited Arizona and withheld most details about that trip. Anne went to Arizona and told me all about Pringles. Nancy went on a family cruise and shared the typical vacation photos.

Anne and the dear, close friend we called “Sally” are in the Keys this month. Up North, the girls bowl on Mondays and play cards on weekends. Here they don’t bowl, so they go to the beach and play cards every day. They drove to Key Weird yesterday. Anne hasn’t been to Key West for a while, so I gave her the piddle pass1, some high points to look for, and told her where I leave the car. Key West is a place for walkies.

“You’ve parked there with me before,” I said.

“Nooooo.” And I could see the “you parked there with her” thought go right across her forehead in bright lights.

Anne’s pique over parking came not because I found a nice (free) 10×20 piece of real estate in a tiny city where that plot is gold. It came because I did something with Nancy that perhaps I did not do with Anne.

The article explores the day-to-day realities of poly living and loving to answer the question of whether polyamory might be the right lifestyle choice for you but it spends a lot of words on the (kinky) sex and it doesn’t look at how much you tell one partner about what you do with another.

How much do I share with one partner about what I do with the other?

That depends. Anne spurns the stories and photos of hugging the statue on the cornah in Winslow, Arizona, or watching a shark in the shallows off Crane Point. Nancy embraces the stories and photos of concert planning in North Puffin or the ferry across Lake Champlain, foliage, and a picnic at the Crown Point Historic Site. My folks always called their unlimited Florida State Parks pass a “piddle pass” because they could stop to use the facilities at any of 160 state parks and reserves. As an aside, they usually saw somebody pretty cool there, too.

[Editor’s Note: gekko and I shared a four-part polylocution plus these Afterglow posts. Please visit her piece, Those Scuffy Areas We Don’t Talk About, and use The Poly Posts index for the entire series and for other resources.]

13 thoughts on “The Aftermath — Part IV, Sex and Secrets and

  1. I am about to go on walkies. I would have headed over to the Emporium for Bagel Shaped Food, but I could take only one dog with me. Murph is too aggressive when tied to a table and other folk happen along with their own mutts. It’s not cool when your dog drags a table across a sidewalk on her way to dominate a bejeweled Lhasa Apso.

    I’ve been known to leave Murph behind when taking the well-mannered Lady Teegan, but, well. She is so mournful, it breaks my heart.

  2. The Poly Wogs — I mean, the Polyamory Weekly podcasters apparently panned the article as a “nearly gets it, but misses on so many areas” Then they squabbled over which parts it got, and which parts it missed on. There was contention over whether they got the comparison of poly and swinging right, with Minx (the one who does the podcast) saying swinging is not the exact opposite of polyamory. They also disliked that the article seemed too heavily focused on the sex, with just a few minor nods to the committed loving relationship part. But, since sex is what sells …

    Me, I’d say the opposite of polyamory is solitary confinement.

  3. @gekko: The Poly Wogs … panned the Poly Weekly 254: Is marriage out of style? in the podcast.

    Interesting that Minx and “Graydancer” came out of the article with two nearly opposite interpretations.

    @gekko: “Me, I’d say the opposite of polyamory is solitary confinement.”

    Better than calling monogamy “solitary confinement.”

    I’m not sure even solitary confinement is actually all one if one has Rosie and her five sisters for company.

  4. I find myself feeling really uncomfortable, not because of any poly-exploration but because it seems like Anne’s privacy is being compromised. She is talked about but is not a part of the conversation. You can say she’s welcome to join in but this conversation and relationship are choices made by you and Nancy, and her choice is to accept it or. . .

    Have you asked her permission to explore her behaviors here? Doesn’t it seem like her choices about privacy ought to be respected to the extent that it is possible to do so? Is the greatest good exploration of a philosophy or kindness to another person? Can you (meaning “one”) do both?

    The woman shapes herself around the life that is handed her. Let us applaud the grace she musters.

  5. @Chris.tine: “I find myself feeling really uncomfortable … because it seems like Anne’s privacy is being compromised.”

    Chris makes several good points that we haven’t deliberately covered here.

    Unlike a newspaper, we’ve tried to respect the privacy of all the peeps who appear in these “pages.” In the FAQ I wrote, “‘It was the impulse to hide it immediately that got me into trouble,’ correspondent Jamie wrote.” We quoted or referred to many people. Some were composites, some real. And we both changed their names to their privacy.

    On names, you’ll notice that I call Nancy “Nancy” here although I use “gekko” on her own blog. She and I talked about it and that’s the convention we chose.

    I do believe we can explore a philosophy and be kind to others as long as there is some buy-in by the people involved.

    Anne read the earliest pieces (before I named her) and we talked about it in some detail then. I explicitly asked her permission to explore her own thoughts and actions. I have also either discussed with our correspondents or clouded their identities before using their words here.

    About Anne’s specific participation here: she can’t help but be a participant in my life any more than I can help but be a participant in hers. She and I agreed to be truthful here but not to do any “negative campaigning” nor to disclose family kinds of data that’s not germaine to the discussion.

    On disclosure, there is always the danger of little details sneaking out, and not necessarily in the polyblogs. Thanks to Getting It Up Early, y’all know that I’m a night owl. Thanks to Sticks and (Rolling) Stones, y’all know that she does the laundry and I repair/rebuild the house, she complains to her friends about me and I blog.

    Any time we write about our own lives, the reader learns more than we might actually say.

  6. Many bloggers talk about the people in their lives from the perspective of the impact these people have on the bloggers’ lives. It’s a fact of life. Is it a “privacy” issue? Maybe. I don’t know if you’ve ever read some of the blogs from other participants here, and, having done so, experienced the same discomfort level from what they have written — some of it anguished and not complimentary of the people being discussed. When these other players in the bloggers’ lives are objectified, we readers may feel sufficient removal that we do not experience such discomfort.

    Dick has made Anne real. He named her. He brought some of her words to you. I don’t recall if, in bringing you her words, he also indicated he had spoken to her about publishing those words. I do know Dick is not a mere blogger splatting his anguish across the internoodle(tm Paula), but is a published journalist. One presumes he applies standards of journalistic integrity. My experience with him over the past 10 or more years tells me it is more than a presumption but a fact.

    How do you, ‘Stine, feel about my characterization of TUFKAS? I haven’t gone back over my entries, but I have tried to be fair in my treatment of him, offering the perspective he claimed to have at the time in addition to my own. I have not sought his permission in advertising his part in my story, however his interactions with me did indeed impact me in the way that it did. To extract his role would be to make the story incomprehensible. Perhaps the anonymity I have given him — as thin as it is — helps allay your discomfort?

  7. Well, let’s not pretend I’m anything like objective.

    I probably identify with Anne in that she and I are the same age, I guess, and while I was the “bad guy” in my marriage, I easily imagine feeling displaced especially when the other one is newer and shinier. That’s happened to me mainly in the work place, not the personal relationship arena. So I project. . .

    Yes, it seems to me TUFKAS is held more. . . private. And that’s funny, as I’ve met him and not Anne. Actually, I think you’ve bent over backwards to represent him well. My impression of him was that he was probably a rather difficult man.

  8. Nancy, .

    Dick, as to the representing well, that’s the tricky part, and the part where as much lies in the reader as the writer. For me, the issue is not to subconsciously or consciously try to color things to make me look a little better than I am, the other a little worse than he or she is. I do a LOT of rewriting around that.

  9. Nancy got it right, eh :-)

    Chris.tine: “the issue is not to … color things to make me look a little better than I am, the other a little worse than he or she is.”

    I’m not sure the former is possible. After all, our own mothers taught us from the cradle to put our “best foot forward.” I will very rarely write about a failure and I will never write that Anne or Nancy or Chris.tine and I had a fight today. I will write about the good news in my life and about the successes I want to share.

    At the same time, I will not put Anne or Nancy in a bad light. In fact, the two most negative pieces I’ve related about Anne — her “disapproval of my lifetime friendship and love” with Nancy and this week’s “you went there with her” — are not only necessary to the story and part and parcel of her own personality but are related with permission.

    I hope that as we wander through this series readers get to know Nancy and Anne and me better; the only way that can happen is relating our thoughts well.

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