On falling in love, plumbing, and vegans. Also, glitter. OR: Speaking your needs in a relationship. And glitter.
I went for a drink with a boy recently, and as we were chatting away, he asked, out of the blue, “So, how many boyfriends have you had?” which I thought was a bit nosey.
We’d only known each other an hour or so and he wants to open that particular can of worms. Good on him for being direct in his intentions, I guess. Still, I don’t like that question. It’s a bit like someone looking at a second-hand car and asking how many owners it’s had, or a racehorse dealer asking about previous riders. There’s an image for you. Anyway.
To avoid having to answer properly, when he asked “How many boyfriends have you had?” I, of course, responded with “My own, or other people’s?” (Thankyou, Mrs. White.) Which, as well as distracting from the car-crash that is my previous history, meant I could gently sidestep the idea of the TWO PEOPLE MONOGAMOUS. THIS IS THE ONLY WAY FOR A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP TO BE
I’ve never really been one for monogamy. This probably isn’t shocking, since I’m not really one for relationships at all, but monogamy I find particularly weird. Being in love with someone, fine. I get that. Been there myself. Having that person love you back, yep, think so. Less often, perhaps, but still, definitely not beyond my experiences.
I've just never really got the hang of monogamy. I think it’s probably got a lot to do with being quite competitive when it comes to sex. I don’t want to toot my own horn (that’s what Grindr’s for har har), but I almost always win.
And, y’know, variety being the spice of life and such. Just the thought of saying “You seem nice. Let us have a deep and meaningful relationship, where we don’t ever do something that we have both enjoyed doing with other people any more, only with each other. It would be like only ever playing tennis with one person again, or pool, or something else involving balls and you get where I’m going with that…
It’s like, once you’ve decided that you like this person, and they’ve decided they like you back, there’s this weird kind of pressure from the rest of society that you need to be ‘exclusive’ or whatever. Imagine it - you and your lover, the apple of your eye, the person you want to grow old next to, both of you loving playing ping-pong.
When people find out, you’re expected to only play ping pong together, because you both like it so much. But other people play ping pong too, and in different ways, with different techniques and different shaped bats… Do you really want to have the same game over and over again until you both die?
Maybe I’m stretching the analogy a bit there, but you get the gist. I’m not saying don’t fall in love, don’t get married, if you like, I suppose. All I’m saying is, don’t let society and the idea of ‘respectability’ or whatever stop you from having fulfilling sex.
What if it gets boring? There’s the old joke about marriage equality: I can’t understand why anyone would be against same sex marriages - all marriages are same sex marriages, because once you’re married, it’s always the same sex.
And… I’m a long way from being married - I can’t even commit to a 6-month gym membership, but sometimes I wonder: What if that’s not enough for you? What if you’re totally, madly, completely in love with someone who loves you back, and whose weird fits with your weird in the best possible way and everything is brilliant and you can’t imagine spending the rest of your life without them next to you, but the sex isn’t great?
And, it’s not like a technical thing, so you can’t just gently nudge them towards doing what you like, but it’s more of a rhythm thing, or something, y’know, just you don’t dance well together… He foxtrots when you need a rhumba, or something. You know what I mean.
If that’s the case, should you just break up, and risk losing someone who works really well with all those other bits of your life just because this amazing person can’t get you where you need to go once or twice a month?
OR, could you, y’know, let someone else deal with that small aspect of life, and get on with enjoying all the other bits together. Like, say, you do all the DIY jobs around the house, but one day there’s a problem with the drains that you can’t fix. Do you just leave the whole house and go find a new one, or do you get a plumber to come round and see to your outflow pipe?
Maybe there’s something in it, though. I mean, I’ve been dating a guy I like, and then been horny and thought “Nah, I’d rather just have a wank, as I’m kinda into the guy, so I don’t want to go shag a stranger… But I couldn’t see that lasting for a long time. Especially once you settle into relationship territory.
I think that sexually I’m a bit like a magpie. I get distracted easily by shiny things. Except, y’know, genitals shouldn’t really be shiny. Unless it’s like that birthday party I had at Sink The Pink… I found a big bag of glitter and spent the next three hours running around dusting everyone with it. I was literally covered in it by the end of the night. And that stuff is like gay herpes: Once you’ve got it, there’s no way to get rid and it just sort of appears occasionally.
A tip, though, for glitter-management: Shower BEFORE touching any soft furnishings, or getting into bed. I didn’t, and half a box of Persil liqui-tabs later, it was still appearing in my bedsheets. It was like I was constantly in some kind of unicorn bukkake film - there was always glitter on my face, my hands… I’ve lived in three different houses since then, and I still occasionally find bits of sparkle.
Where was I? Oh, yeah. My point was, if a relationship is deeper than just sex, then surely there’s room for a respectful and gentle discussion about occasionally getting someone in to do a messy job. Surely it doesn’t matter who you’re having the sex with, because you have something deeper and more meaningful than just slapping genitals together…
I’m not saying you need to be polyamorous. There’s something very smug about Poly people, like vegans and atheists. How do you know if someone’s vegan? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you. Besides, the whole idea of polyamoury, that is, having multiple meaningful relationships at the same time sounds exhausting. All that having feelings at people. It’s bad enough with one person, but with several?! I’d never have time to get anything done.
And y’know, maybe I’m wrong. I know plenty of people who are in monogamous relationships and seem quite happy about that, so it’s possible that I’ve just not met the right person yet. Or perhaps I’m dead inside and I’ll die alone. It’s pretty much a toss-up at this point.
The main takeaway from this, apart from the image of me dying alone, upside down in a pub toilet, is that it’s a thing you should decide for yourself. Don’t endure a relationship that isn’t fulfilling an important part of your life, just because that’s what we’ve been told is how it has to be. Just make sure that, if you’re in a relationship, you’re able to talk about and doi these things with the blessing of everyone else involved. Don’t go cheating. That’s just bad juju. Besides, they might be secretly up a for a threesome too, but don’t know how to bring it up… You never know until you ask!
Do your own thing, how you want, and screw everyone else. Literally, if you like.