Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Sick Day

I started coming down with a sore throat yesterday afternoon, right after I got done working with the kid I tutor at lunch. (And I'd appreciate prayers that she doesn't catch it, as she's had more than enough illness and hospital time lately.) By late afternoon yesterday, I'd already figured out that I wasn't going to work today.

Unfortunately, I haven't really been able to rest. Due to my leaky ceiling and move from one apartment to another, I lost my handydandy pile of W2s and tax forms. I have now found the W2s, but not the tax forms. And yes, it's almost April 15th. (St. Ruadan of Tipperary, curser of kings, pray for us!) So I guess I'd better call the library and find out if they've got state and local tax forms. Sigh.

Changing the subject from the sadness of my own life, this is certainly pretty sad. But what do you expect? In a world where any male friendship between fictional characters instantly becomes food for slashfic, real life heterosexual guys have good reason to fear the misinterpretation of their most ordinary activities. Even the article calls two male friends spending time together a "man date". Not a lunch date. Not going to a gallery to hang out. No, a man date. Sheesh. Give the subtext a rest, folks.

Now here's a man who has a date with destiny: a portrait of the Pope as a university student that hangs over in Steubenville.

In other news, I've been thinking about polyamory. You know, there is a place for loving multiple people equally well. It's called "parenthood". It can even be the love between siblings. But seeing as I already have parents and siblings from whom I experience and toward whom I express plenty of the above kinds of love, obviously I would want something rather different in the realm of romance!

I suppose that if you came from a broken home, you might long for that sort of day-in, day-out love. You might even prefer it to romantic or married love, especially if you identified marriage as "what always ends in divorce". Not only does the polyamorous person get this sort of "I love all of you equally" love, he gets sex while being able to hide his essential self in the crowd of other lovers. As long as things never get more settled than that, there are never any expectations to get disappointed about.

See, traditional romantic love is intrinsically rather threatening and dangerous. It makes you vulnerable. It makes you depend on someone else. Scarier still, that person depends on you. Both people involved tend to make promises and sacrifices. You can't stay safe, especially if you get married and totally change your life.

Polyamory seems designed to provide the illusion of safety in love and sex. Nothing needs to change except your schedule. As long as you are honest, you don't need to make sacrifices. Of course, the poor idiots who buy this crup then get to experience all the family joys of peer pressure and lack of privacy, without ever getting compensated by being the most important person ever to someone -- anyone.

But then, when you think about historical occurrences of polygamy, it pretty much seems to be a rich man's way to buy new sex slaves when the old ones are no longer nubile enough, or a clan's way of surviving high mortality rates among young men of fighting age, young women of childbearing age, and infants. Best to give the survivor men a big chunk of women, breed as fast as possible, but never get too attached. This sort of lifestyle of course demanded that women never be allowed to marry outside the tribe, unless there was a reciprocal trade. And it was really bad to be a young man; but hey, you want the young men jazzed up for battle, anyway. What better way than letting them know the only way they'll get any before they're thirty is if they steal a sex slave from the next tribe over?

Prostitution and sexual slavery are the ultimate ways not to get attached, of course. So there are plenty of people in our society -- even women daring to call themselves feminists -- who support prostitution and refuse to condemn trafficking in women, girls, and boys. We are going down a very scary path, and I'm not sure where it will end.

I think the answer to our problems is very simple. We need to treat each other with more respect for individual human dignity, and we need to treat ourselves with that same respect. People need to quit settling for situations I wouldn't foist on my worst enemy. They need to figure that there are a lot worse fates than being alone on Saturday night.


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