Polyamory is wrong!
Hello again, friends! It’s your friendly polyamorous, poetical, piratical guest-posting partial alliteratist, continuing my blog takeover while our wonderful Laura is off taking care of herself.
(She’s doing well, by the way. It’s a hard road, but she’s so strong and determined that she’s kicking ass hard enough that half of her medical staff is hoping to publish something based on her case.)
Almost any polyamorous person has heard the uber-nerdy joke: “Polyamory is wrong! You should never combine Greek and Latin roots. The correct term would either be Polyeros or Multiamory.”
If you hadn’t ever heard this joke before, you’re welcome. It’s a classic of terrible geeekery.
But I’m here telling this OLD joke not just because it’s awesome (it is, obviously), but because I think it illustrates a problem that can sneak up on us in our ENM journeys. The problem I mean to briefly discuss is one of exclusion through elitism, or more simply: gatekeeping.
The above joke relies upon the comedic principle of double entendre. No, not THAT kind. Double entendre only requires that a mundane phrase be used over literally or in an unconventional way to create a new meaning. Usually risque, true, but in this case, the device is used to basically state that: “I, the speaker, have more knowledge than you, the one who made the error, therefore I shall correct you.”
The result (I know I’m taking this too seriously -- have you met me?!) is that the speaker is saying that there is a one, true way to use language and that the listener is doing it wrong. (This is a problem with “grammar correctness in general, but you can google the racist and classist implications of that on your own.)
Likewise, to ssssstreeeeetch this analogy absolutely as far as it’ll go, to let ourselves fall into judgemental, “one twue polyism” is all too easy, and extremely harmful to the community in general, and to individuals looking for their own ENM path particularly. It’s a bit of in-group privilege of which we should be aware, especially when asked for advice or input from our fellow polyamorous folks.
So, if your ENM is multiamorous, polyerotic, panphillic, polyamorous or anything else, I say you’re doing great (as long as you’re remembering to keep that big E at the front of your NM), and I love all your mixed linguistic roots. Remember to share that love with the rest of the community. Gatekeeping is antithetical to ENM -- gates are made to be closed, and I’m pretty sure we’re mostly about setting no limits on the pool of available love.
You do you, boo. I know I will.
Ken Briodagh (That’s me!) is a storyteller, author and editor. I’ve been Laura’s partner for more than 4 years and polyamorous for some years more than that. I’ve been a cook, telemarketer, medical supply technician and mover of the bodies at a funeral home. Most of my exploits are either exaggerated or blatantly false and no one can prove otherwise. I like it that way. My new book of poetry Stories and Sins is available here. I am the creator of the StoryPhoenix project, seeking to tell stories that matter, which you can visit at StoryPhoenix.com, facebook.com/StoryPhoenixes/, and on Twitter @StoryPhoenix_ . You can follow me @AtlasWriter on Twitter and youtube.com/user/atlaswriter. You can buy my book Stories and Sins here, and you should (Laura said I had to put that last part in).