I feel the looooooove, people! *sniffle* I expected a few introspective, convoluted answers to my “bloggerhood” post below, and instead I found over three dozen “I like you! Lots!” comments. Aw, shucks. I like you, too! Don’t ever change! And special kudos to those of you who delurked just to say that. I cannot promise to never alienate any of you with some of my more bizarre ruminations, but I’ll do my darndest to keep y’all around.
Speaking of which, what do you suppose a small boy who manages to make “arrivederci” rhyme with “I have a wedgie” (ah-ree-va-DED-gie turns to ah-hav-a-WED-gie) does for an encore, just when you’ve decided he is perhaps a special kind of linguistic savant? Why, he listens intently to the bedtime story’s description of wolves howling at the moon and intones, “I think that may be their way of communicating.” Well alrighty then, Einstein. If we could just keep your fingers out of your nose and get you to stop peeing the bed, you’d be ready for college.
Anyway. This post is not about either of these things.
This post is about how polygamy has gotten a bum rap. (That promise? About not alienating people? See, now, why I am reluctant?)
Now I, probably not unlike you, had always assumed that polygamy was some weird Mormon sex fetish thing. Then I saw the story about Tom Green of Utah on Dateline NBC a few years back. They devoted an hour to the inner workings of this polygamist household. The topic of sex was touched upon, but only briefly (the “head wife” is responsible for scheduling the husband’s sleeping schedule). Most of the story centered on how the wives run their day-to-day lives with the kids.
Can I tell you? I’ve had extensive discussions about this with my girlfriends and (now ex) sisters-in-law, and we all agree. The concept is brilliant. How is it that the mainstream has shunned this possibility so? I think it’s all the men who couldn’t possibly handle multiple wives, who are walking around trying to convince every one that this is a bad idea.
Yeah, I see you, there, shaking your head. Just stick with me a minute here.
First of all, what struck me most about the Dateline special–other than the interesting sight of one “team” of children being driven into town in a van to go shoe shopping–was how much the women genuinely enjoyed one another. They referred to each other as sister-wives and had nothing but praise for one another. I don’t think it was an act. Picture it: you’ve got four girlfriends right there in the house with you. You don’t like to do laundry? Fine, hand it over to the sister-wife who loves her some Tide. Need a few minutes to yourself? Direct whichever of those twenty-five rugrats are yours to go bother one of the other moms so you can pee in relative peace. Stuck on a word in your crossword puzzle? The sheer volume of other adults in the house greatly increases the odds that someone will know the answer. (Okay, I doubt any of Green’s wives do crosswords. I’m just sayin’.) Once the kids are all in bed at night? You can stay home and actually hang out with other adults, or if you want to go out for something, there is never a need for a babysitter.
Secondly, can we talk about this nighttime scheduling thing? My guess is that the head wife is well-loved by the other sister wives. The ones with more libido slip her extra cookies and hand-wash her delicates for some extra nights with the love machine. The ones who are just as happy to sleep alone and not have to deal with a midnight grope put just the right amount of starch in her crisp blouses in return for more nights “off duty.” Who amongst us that have experienced long-term relationships haven’t relished a reunion after a few days or weeks apart? It probably keeps things interesting.
Furthermore, who says polygamy must contain polyamory? I have had more strategy sessions than I should probably admit about how to set up a “sister wife commune” based on a friend’s happy marriage, where the rest of us put out in every way except in the bedroom. We sister wives would still be reaping 99% of the benefits of marriage, with an able-bodied male around to do things like bring in a paycheck, fix leaky faucets, and move heavy objects. That whole built-in babysitter thing is a huge plus for those of us who are mateless, you know. If I had a few sister wives hanging around the place, I’d feel way less guilty about going out on a date once in a while. (“Oh, I’m sorry, I’m not dating right now. I’m still looking for some additional wives to help me out.”)
The benefits for the husband are obvious, too. The beleaguered man who spends a day in the rat race, only to arrive home to no dinner, a frazzled wife, and wild children? He would be no more at the sister wife commune. Heck, I could have dinner on the table every single night if I had four other women there with me every day. No problem. And with five moms to tag-team even the most disobedient children? There wouldn’t be any Mommy Meltdowns. You could just hand off to the next in line while you went outside and ate some chocolate and counted to ten. Naturally the entire house would be in order by the time the husband arrived home. Everyone benefits!
I am full of good ideas, I tell you. Especially when I am dreading going back to work.