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The online diary of an ethical pervert.

Monday, 4 August 2008

21st century etiquette

Being English carries a burden of politeness, a desire to do not so much the right thing in any given circumstance, but the correct and proper thing. Which, on Saturday, left me wondering what was the precise required gift when going to stay at The Photographer's partner's house and being introduced to her for the first time? Meet the parents for the polyamorous generation.

Fortunately, anxiety over the gift itself managed to submerge any worries on the day about the actual encounter and by all accounts it went very well. Thank fuck. Much better than I had anticipated, and she was very easy going and friendly. I had expected to be quite tense and was, a little, through the week, but all was allayed. Although other minor quandaries did appear during the course of the weekend including who should sit next to whom, in the car, at lunch and in the cinema, most of which seemed to be resolved by being relaxes and not fussing. A good maxim, I suppose.

There is a ongoing tendency, and I know that I am extremely prone to this, to grade, rate and evaluate. I expect that it stems from language development - we learn to speak through classifying X as Not-Y, and thus learn the "value" of X. In this context, however, it doesn't seem like an especially good idea. I want to know where I stand with my partners, I don't, however want to be in a marriage of unequals with their partners: phrases like "main partner" leave me a little cold as this clearly imply that others are "lesser". I'm not going down that road, and by avoiding such labels I can avoid some of my worries about something that seems (hopefully) able to progress to the medium and perhaps long term, to be a little deeper than two people who enjoy fucking each other.

There are all sorts of issues, some which might be termed (unkindly) vanilla hangups, others which are obvious factors of how I was brought up: my mother asks me if I have a boyfriend, I reply "no". I don't go on to elaborate. I'm not going to recite sections from The Ethical Slut, or any form of manifesto for modern living, there are some types of conversations that I'm just not prepared to have just yet.

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