“Even when you live a totally wacky alternative lifestyle, 98% of your life will still be… life.”
….This, I think, is the crux of why polyamory is so massively misrepresented in the media. And also probably why people, upon first learning that polyamory exists, immediately jump to questions which are All About The Sex.
This isn’t a “we’re totally normal, just like everyone else!” rant, because I really believe “normal” is a false concept. There are six billion people on this planet, and sure, there are things which are seen as being more common and/or socially acceptable than others (and these vary from culture to culture anyway,) but there is no such thing, in my opinion, as a Truly Normal person.
I mean, look at me as an example. I have a partner who has a partner (two other serious partners, actually, and they’re both Freaking Awesome.) I have sex plenty of people would define as “weird.” I go to conventions where I dress up strangely or casually get naked around people I’ve just met or go to (or host) workshops where we talk about our weird wacky lifestyles. I write a blog about my weird wacky lifestyle!
But all this stuff takes up, like, 1% of my time? (Okay, more if we include any time spent with my partner, but I don’t really think going on dinner dates and going for walks and travelling and just hanging out counts as particularly “weird and wacky.”) The rest of the time, I go to university (well, not any more *sob*) and go to work and worry about money and go grocery shopping and do household chores and hang out with my friends and work on my writing and do my hobbies and… just live my life, really.
During the OMG Débâcle of Early 2011, the producers utterly failed to grasp this concept of us polyamorous folks having a life beyond our unusual relationship practices – which is, I think, where the staged cuddle-party came from. Watching people just living their lives doesn’t make for good television! It doesn’t satisfy the public’s lust for a freak-show!
For a more recent example, look at this article about Polyday. Warning, though, it’s absolutely horrible. I poked fun at it when I read it, in a “I have to laugh or I’d cry” sort of way.
Likewise, people are disappointed when I tell them that a weekend with my Poly Family is much more likely to involve board games and talking and takeout and silly songs and hand-puppets than wild orgies! I mean, the truth just isn’t salacious enough, so nosy acquaintances (not to mention TV producers) dig and dig to get to the debauchery that they’re so convinced is lurking when really, 99.9% of the time, it isn’t.
To sum up, I will leave you with this quote from my friend Maxine, during above-mentioned OMG Débâcle.
Stupid Host: So this is your living room! What do you do in here?
Maxine: Well… what do you do in your living room?