October 5, 2011

"At the dinner table, Phil sits between his wife and his girlfriend, across from the kids."

"He's a bus driver with an effusive personality and a stubbly goatee."

Polyamory hits Madison, Wisconsin.
During the course of conversation, he'll reach over and sweep a strand of hair behind Grace's ear or nuzzle his wife Katie after a joke. Their 9- and 11-year old boys babble cheerily about school. Their 17-year-old daughter Vionna comes home from work partway through the meal and pulls up a chair. She darts up to her room at one point and brings down a present for Grace, a pretty glass vial of perfume. Between all parties, there's a natural and easy vibe.
Oh, good Lord.

77 comments:

Moose said...

Here it comes kids - the law of unintended consequences. God, I love it. "It'll never happen!" Then - oddly enough - it does.

How could this be?

Seven Machos said...

Between all parties, there's a natural and easy vibe.

Who writes this crap?

Joanna said...

In 10 years, I want a follow up interview with their kids.

Pogo said...

Just don't be against gay marriage.

Maguro said...

Nothing good will come of this.

rhhardin said...

They'd need a polyamoire in the bedroom.

Glen Wishard said...

"But what Bzdawka says seems to point to the heart of what polyamory is all about, namely respecting the people you love and being completely honest with yourself."

Yeah. That and doing two chicks at once.

mesquito said...

Hey, Professor? You need to get over all those uptight bourgeois hangups, dig?

Seven Machos said...

Yeah. That and doing two chicks at once.

It's a lifestyle, babe. A philosophy.

Seeing Red said...

Keep these kids away from mine. I do not want them marrying mine.

Pogo said...

I don't care. Gay marriage is awesome.

Pastafarian said...

I'm not sure that a proponent of gay marriage can oppose polygamy and maintain logical consistency, can they? Can't all the same arguments be made for this?

Seeing Red said...

It's dated 2001.

David said...

This article is from 2001?

Or something?

Shouting Thomas said...

It's just about respect and equal treatment for poly whatever, Althouse.

And doing two chicks.

What if the bus driver was your son?

PatCA said...

They're "just folks" like us!

This is not about legalizing polygamy!

Honest!

Ann Althouse said...

For some reason that was on today's most-commented list at Isthmus.

Ann Althouse said...

So it Is ten years later. We should hear from the kids.

Scott M said...

Oh, good lord.

During the course of conversation, he'll reach over and sweep a strand of hair behind Bob's ear or nuzzle him after a joke. Their 9- and 11-year old boys babble cheerily about school. Their 17-year-old daughter Vionna comes home from work partway through the meal and pulls up a chair. She darts up to her room at one point and brings down a present for Bob, a pretty glass vial of perfume. Between all parties, there's a natural and easy vibe.

So...what's the problem? The fact that the daughter gave one of her daddy's perfume?

David said...

Let's hear from the kids.

How did this work for them?

For that matter, how did it work for the women? Are they still a happy triple?

David said...

You can fool some of the people all of the time.

Amartel said...

I've been seeing these phony-sounding articles about purported polyamorous familial bliss for years out here in NoCal. Preparing the battlefield, and now, expanding the scope thereof. It's the same bunch of perverts who want to "normalize" pedophilia. Some people just want to watch the world burn.

Pogo said...

Who cares what happened 10 years later?

Between all parties, there was a natural and easy vibe.

What else matters?

Fred4Pres said...

The "lameness" tag is a nice touch Ann

MadisonMan said...

The date on that story is February 2001. I thought something was up when it mentioned Ursula Understands.

I'd be curious to hear from the kids now.

edutcher said...

The following social chaos is brought to you by the Justices who struck down Lawrence v. Texas.

Santorum's prediction proven right in 5, 4, 3...

PS Of course, the fact that this sort of thing has been tried and has never worked is of no import. The Lefties have declared an end to history and the culture of Dead White Men and rise above it all with the New Morality.

Which looks a lot like the Old Immorality.

PPS What Pogo said.

DADvocate said...

Polygamy is fine with me, but what sane man would want more than 1 wife? In today's world, having 1 wife is risky enough.

Joe said...

Almost no matter what relationship combination you can dream up, some people somewhere have made it work. Likewise, some people somewhere have made it a dismal failure.

edutcher said...

And has the society where those people "made it work" survived?

Jennifer Whatnot said...

I'm struck by the uniform negativity over here about poly relationships. Personally, I don't care what consenting adults do. Lots of people have tacit arrangements with their spouse regarding when and how they can stray; lots of people form deeply emotional relationships with people other than their spouse. These people are doing so openly, but again - who cares?

Joe said...

edutcher, no society has survived. Having a few people do crazy shit doesn't kill a society; it makes it richer. Polyamory is already going on all over the world, getting your undies in a bunch over it now it really silly. Besides, if the adults are doing it of their free will and they are being good and decent to the children, who the hell cares?

Sixty Grit said...

Only 2? Pikers.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I predict that this will not turn out well for anyone.

RC3 said...

Everyone judges, Jennifer Whatnot. Everyone.

You simply judged the behavior as acceptable, and then moved on to judging the judgers. These Althouse judgers are judging openly, so I’m struck by your negativity about their negativity.

(I judge judges who judge judging.)

Lamar63 said...

Althouse is a polyphobe.

traditionalguy said...

Polyamory is fine, but I guess incest is best.

Respecting boundaries set by God seems so restrictive when good vibes is the result from living free from boundaries.

Someone alert Crack Emcee.

edutcher said...

Joe said...

edutcher, no society has survived. Having a few people do crazy shit doesn't kill a society; it makes it richer. Polyamory is already going on all over the world, getting your undies in a bunch over it now it really silly. Besides, if the adults are doing it of their free will and they are being good and decent to the children, who the hell cares?

Ah, the Libertarian response.

Who knows how much free will is involved? Maybe the wife is going along with it for the husband's sake. In the Mormon families where this exists, the women are always shown to be abused, one way or another

What effect on the children? What kind of example is this, particularly if they want to live in a society that doesn't approve of it or believe in it's worth? How much confusion is there over their relationship to the "other woman", particularly in relation to their mother?

The "Do Your Own Thing" nonsense has only spawned a couple of generations of welfare recipients.

The fact is, if this sort of thing worked, it would the norm, not the abnormality.

PS Last I looked, Western society is still here. So are many societies in Asia.

"No society has survived" is ducking the issue.

PPS The "Having a few people do crazy shit doesn't kill a society; it makes it richer." is even bigger nonsense. If people were committing human sacrifice, does that make the society richer?

Spare me the multiculti bromides.

Michael K said...

Besides, if the adults are doing it of their free will and they are being good and decent to the children, who the hell cares?



And, if the children turn out to be mass murderers as adults, who cares ?

Right ?

bagoh20 said...

"Oh, good Lord. "

That's what he said.

AJ Lynch said...

It may be easy to find Vionna since that is an unusual name. And how funny is it that Joanna had suggested the kids be interviewed ten years later - Althouse there is a job for Meade from New Meadia!

Scott M said...

It doesn't matter. Civil War II will happen before this becomes an issue.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Wait a minute: what happened to the celebration of the era of roll-your-own relationships? Now we're back to moral disapproval?

obladioblada said...

"I've been hardwired poly ever since I could remember," he says. "I was the guy in high school who wanted to date two or three people at a time and couldn't figure out why nobody was into it."

Yeah, it's part of his neurobiology, that's the ticket. Everything is a function of biological construction and evolutionary factors, so ethical and moral values are never an issue. Hey, they were just fabricated that way! And of course, they're intense eggheads to boot. That makes them cool.

Funny that the kids don't seem quite as enthralled with polyamory. Wonder why?

Ann Althouse said...

"So...what's the problem? The fact that the daughter gave one of her daddy's perfume?"

To tell you the truth, my biggest problem was the writing! Writing like that is fingernails on the blackboard to me.

After that, it's the inane sentimentality about these boring people.

Freeman Hunt said...

Leap.

There I go. Goodbye, libertarians. Hello, conservatives. I'm one of you people now.

Hazy Dave said...

It's obvious why today's youth desire a sweet unionized city employee gig. "Bus Driver" = "Chick Magnet".

bagoh20 said...

"Writing like that is fingernails on the blackboard to me."

If you are referring to that short quote, then I have no idea what your talking about. It seems pretty natural writing to me. I'm no expert, so I'll just assume it's over my head to hate it.

Shouting Thomas said...

How do you know they are boring people, Althouse?

You're contemptuous of bus drivers?

Here's one of my favorite quotes from Henry Miller:

"It's better at the bottom."

Here's what he meant. There is more variety in people at the bottom of the social structure.

People are pretty much carbon copy manufactured products at the level where you work.

Chuck66 said...

Polygamy is sooooo 2009. The next big thing for the wacko left is to do away with genders.

Chuck66 said...

I worked for a while at Best Buy's corporate HQ in suburban Minneapolis. They are an extermely liberal company that shows gay-rights films in the campus theater.

When they would send out invitations to attend a gay film, I had to use all the will power I had not to do a Reply-All saying "I'll go only if there is some hot girl-on-girl action".

Kirby Olson said...

I think animal brothels would complete the love for nature theme that we see emerging among the left.

EDH said...

I dunno, when I first read he was a "bus driver with an effusive personality", I had hoped their names were Ralph, Alice and Trixie.

murgatroyd666 said...

And has the society where those people "made it work" survived?

I can think of several societies that survived for a long time (some through the present day, in fact) in which polygyny was common.

Unfortunately for some of its advocates in our culture, every one of those societies treated women as little more than property.

But who are we to judge?

murgatroyd666 said...

I think animal brothels would complete the love for nature theme that we see emerging among the left.

Do you remember Tom Lehrer's heartwarming story about the life of Dr. Samuel Gall?

"His educational career began, interestingly enough, in agricultural school, where he majored in animal husbandry ... until they caught him at it one day."

Oligonicella said...

Michael K --

"And, if the children turn out to be mass murderers as adults, who cares ?

Right?"

I'm against polyamory in general. It's just an excuse to screw around.

That said, your response is simply stupid. You equate poyamory with mass murder. Stupid.

Kirk Parker said...

"Of course, the fact that this sort of thing has been tried and has never worked is of no import"

Uhhh, for some values of "never worked", I guess. I'm no proponent of polygamy, but how many of you have lived in a place where it was commonly practiced and been able to observe the big picture?

A. Shmendrik said...

No Ralph Kramden he is.

Nora said...

What I don't understand is: if everything is so peachy and they feel so good about their arangement together, why they need a support network?

Freeman Hunt said...

Everywhere that polygamy is commonly practiced is crummy.

Kenneth Burns said...

For some reason that was on today's most-commented list at Isthmus.

Isthmus reposted the 2001 polyamory article as part of a retrospective for our 35th anniversary. Here are all the stories we've revisited so far this year.

Scott M said...

@AA

To tell you the truth, my biggest problem was the writing! Writing like that is fingernails on the blackboard to me.

You know what's worse? Having a non-writer member of the extended family send out news letters about her own group of spawn and relate things that happen to them in first-person narrative like she's writing fiction. They had a simple canoe flip last summer and the way she wrote it made it sound like they all almost died.

That's not nails on chalkboard. That's hot bamboo under the nails while your eyelids are pulled down to your chin with vicegrips.

Kit said...

What I don't understand is: if everything is so peachy and they feel so good about their arangement together, why they need a support network?

Maybe the safety of being able to share experiences with the like-minded; unconditional love and support. Certainly, if the world would let them be, they wouldn't need it, but that's not the case, is it?

Scott M said...

Where are the gay advocates that preach gay exists in the wild and has been observed in the higher apes? I'm pretty sure an alpha silverback is polyamorous. Likewise an alpha lion...an alpha wolf...but not a beta manbearpig.

viator said...

The inevitable result of gay marriage. When you have an open ended definition of marriage then anything is possible and opposition to anything is discrimination. Watch as the combinations increase and the envelope expands. Watch the real costs to society increase as indicated by the fundamental Mormon experience.

prairie wind said...

Phil, Katie and Grace (not their real names) are open about their unusual setup; they asked to remain anonymous for this article out of respect for their extended families, many of whom live and—okay, the real reason—attend church in town.

Open but anonymous. Got it.

Katie, Phil and Grace make no attempts to hide their lives. They'll kiss in the driveway. They'll spend Christmas together with the relatives. They're open with their kids about dating, break-ups.

Anonymous but kissing in the driveway. Which is it?

"Last week I had to ask Katie if it squicks her out when I leave hickeys on Phil's neck," Grace laughs.

Hickeys in the driveway? Maybe it doesn't bother Katie but it certainly squicks me out. But hickeys in general do that to me.

"We have different ideas about raising kids," Katie says. "We have different values, I think," Grace offers. There is an awkward silence.

Yeah. Awkward.

Even Phil, who wakes up most mornings feeling "pretty lucky," finds the arrangement challenging.

Awkward silence.

rhhardin said...

The next big thing for the wacko left is to do away with genders.

Start with pronouns.

Freeman Hunt said...

They'll spend Christmas together with the relatives.

Bet the relatives love that.

"They're bringing the girlfriend."
"Oh, geeze."
"I know."
"Don't say anything. Then they might not come, and we won't get to see the grandkids."
"How many guest rooms do they need? Do the three of them share?"
"I don't know."
"Ask."
"I'm not asking that."

prairie wind said...

Too funny, Freeman! That article probably was most-downloaded because everyone in the family(ies) read it and emailed it to someone else in the family. No need to ask the questions, now. Now, the family just stares and waits for something weird to happen.

Your leap made some sense.

purplepenquin said...

My greatgrandpa said that any marriages would be possible once we started allowing divorced people to re-marry someone else.

John said...

There has been polygamy in the world for quite some time, so to say that this is the result of gay marriage (a relatively new phenomenon) is backwards. If anything, gay marriage is a result of polygamy (although I don't think that's the true case, either).

Plus, the guy doesn't have two wives (polygyny)... he has a wife and a girlfriend. There are LOTS of people today who have both a spouse and a non-spousal significant other--those people are called cheaters or two-timers (or, in some cases, they're "on the down-low"). The only difference is that these weirdos are open about it.

I'm a gay man, and I believe in gay marriage (actually, make that marriage in general). My personal opinion about marriage's defining characteristic is the permanent and exclusive nature of it, not the necessity of opposite-sex spouses. After all, one can be "married" to an idea, or one can "marry" two mechanical parts or pieces of wood. None of our other uses of the word "marry" imply the necessity of opposite sexes, but rather hinge upon the permanent and exclusive nature of such "marriage." After all, that's the REAL reason more and more people simply don't get married today... they don't like the ideas of permanence and exclusivity. They want the option to get out of the situation if they get bored or find someone "better," and an actual legal contract makes doing that much, much harder. The old "it's just a piece of paper" argument simply doesn't hold water--if one don't want to get legally married, it's ultimately because one wants to avoid being locked into a commitment.

elmo iscariot said...

After that, it's the inane sentimentality about these boring people.

Polyamorist* here. Yes, the great majority of us are exactly as boring as your monogamous neighbors.

[* - I'm a man who considers himself non-legally married to two women. I've never cheated on either of them, and would find it very difficult to care less if any of your readers approves of my family, or even if they keep the current discriminatory laws as a way of amplifying their little temper tantrum over my violation of their taboos. As long as they stay the hell away from my family, they can condemn and exclude all they want.]

blake said...

I can't decide if I'm shocked by the story or shocked by the narrow-minded reaction to it.

Neither, I guess.

Society seems to do better with monogamy but that's been done gone for 40-odd years.

tiger said...

"A natural and easy vibe"?

Fucking Mohammed. People actually write *this* way?

Rich Rostrom said...

This sort of thing happens, and occasionally works. The DC comics character Wonder Woman was invented by psychologist William Moulton Marston, who lived with his wife and mistress (and two children by each of them) for 20 years. After he died the two women lived together for about 40 years.

One dog that hasn't barked in the last generation is that no wealthy athlete, musician, or actor has even tried to have de facto polygynous household. One would think that at least one guy would try having more than one baby mama in the house.

blake said...

Ah, I love the "Wonder Woman" story.

Moulton was making trouble for the comic book industry, testifying before Congress on their harmfulness, so Gaines hired him.

Moulton's Wonder Women was extremely dominant, tying men up and making them submit, Moulton having her get increasingly belligerent prompting greater need for editorial control, until Gaines finally dropped him.

Or says "Cartoon Confidential".

Scott M said...

Superman: (flying next Wonder Woman)So...I couldn't help notice that when you finished using the invisible toilet in your invisible jet, you didn't wash your hands.

nico said...

@pastafarian There's an economic argument against polygamy that's not available against gay marriage: that if it creates a gender imbalance among single people then polygamy has an important negative externality. Gay marriage does not have this effect, even if there's many more gays than lesbians or vice-versa. That's because gays won't marry heterosexually just because they can't marry homosexually.

@traditionalguy Ha ha! I guess all that stuff in the Bible about concubines was all against God too eh! Surely those concubines and their, uh, masters(?) had feelings for each other, carnal and romantic both.

Whatever happened to the pursuit of happiness?

@nora Yeah, awesome people don't need support networks. Polies probably need a support network mostly to find other like-minded people for romantic relationships.

@AnnAlthouse Most polies I know are as boring as everyone else!

FYI, I'm quite the anti-commie, economic conservative, pro-lifer. I don't disapprove of polyamory, though I do disapprove of polygamy.

vw: nushese. New cheese? New chaise?