After I posted last week’s column about threesome’s and how Charlie and I have navigated the waters of non-monogamy, I got some interesting feedback. A friend commented that he, “didn’t buy it.” He didn’t understand why I would want a commitment before having a threesome, why not just do it while it’s still casual? After a few back and forth comments via Facebook I finally said, It’s not something for you to “buy,” it’s my life.
That’s when I realized maybe people were taking what I was saying as advice, as some sort of guide for threesomes, instead of what it was: how I took honest stock of what I wanted, and shared that with my partner to help navigate our relationship. And an important morality tale of what happened when I wasn’t honest.
I think Alison put it best, so much of what is out there is about how things should be and instead of about how things are. Which brings me to thing that inspired this week’s column. Everyone is talking about the resurgence of the 30 things meme, even WTF posted about it. I get it, by 30 you should confident and self-reliant and have things figured out. Thirty is time to be a grown-up. Except, as I read the article and mentally checked off the things I have, and have not yet, accomplished (I’m about 8 months from my 30th), I found myself getting furious.
Here is just another thing to make us feel bad, to feel inadequate, to feel like we are doing something wrong, thinly veiled as worldly advice. Here’s one more thing out there telling us how things should be.
I feel the same way when I tell people about Charlie and I and they allude to the fact that maybe someday we will be a “real” couple. That we aren’t doing things the way we should but maybe one day we will.
So as I make that slow march to 30 and beyond here’s my own (much shorter) list of how things are.
1. Every piece of furniture I own is from IKEA.
2. I wear converse and sports bras every day – I never want a job where I have to wear real shoes or shirts that must be ironed.
3. I have no idea how I feel about kids or commitment or marriage – but I plan to use protection against all three for the foreseeable future.
4. My finances are heavily subsidized by my parents while I work towards, yet another, graduate degree.
5. Charlie and I have an amazing and interesting sex life, when we can see each other, and I always smile when I get a text or e-mail from him, beyond that – I’m not worrying about it.
6. I’m totally making it up as I go along.
So there you have it. I am, at least by Glamour magazine’s estimation, failing as an almost 30 year-old women. But when I focus on how things are instead of how other people tell me how things should be, I’m doing pretty great.
(I’m sorry, dear reader if this seems a little rambling – it’s finals and I’m up to my eyeballs in survey data, excel spreadsheets, and policy analysis. Bear with me, next week’s about porn!)
Susan Bi Anthony writes about all things gay, straight, in-between, and outside of the box. You can follow her @SusanBiAnthony for snarky witticisms and updates on her adventures in non-monogamy.
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