We’ve had this theory for a while now, my friend Jo and I. It’s come up in discussion sporadically over the last few years, and again today after the Dominion Post delivered yet another article about a supposed ‘man drought’ in New Zealand, particularly where I live on the Kapiti Coast.
First of all I’d like to establish that I don’t ‘need’ a man: I own my home and car, have a profession, have already reproduced, and am quite happy on my own or spending time with good friends. However, I do ‘want’ a man – someone to love and who loves me – someone to push away the loneliness of being solo. Very simple really. But according to the Dom Post this morning, I’m unlikely to find him here.
The stats say that where I live there are only 82 men for every 100 women. Two friends sent the link to the article directly to me (one of them was Jo) and it was also shared on
dreaded/addictive Facebook, where someone joked that polygamy may be the solution.
Which brings me back to our sporadic discussion: Jo and I already think polygamy is a splendid idea. Neither of us have ever done anything about it in practice; it’s only a theoretical discussion at the moment. She’s in a monogamous relationship and I’m celibately single, but we can’t help but think polygamy is the natural order of things if you look at it with a clear mind.
I’m NOT talking about sex here. I’m not getting into porno threesome territory, as that’s not what it’s about. When we talk about polygamy as a real lifestyle choice, we’re talking about the ideal domestic set-up. We’re talking about natural human behaviour.
From my own experience, I can say that bringing up my kids alone has been hard. Even when I was with their dad, I did a bulk of the child rearing and gave up my career and much of my social life to do so. That was my decision, and I’m not complaining, but there could have been an alternative: polygamy. For me and Jo, it would simply mean another woman in the house. Shared housework, shared cooking, shared child-rearing. Mr Man can go to work or help out at home if he wants to – I’m not assigning gender specific roles here. My argument is that we would all have more options and better choices in how we contribute usefully to a household, and life would be a lot easier and happier as a result. Think about it: less stress, less work, less financial pressure as more adults could be earning a wage, while all the kids are being nurtured in the ideal setting, which is home. More hands, more sharing of responsibility, more joy in parenting rather than the hard slog it often seems.
I am rubbish at housework – I just don’t see it and hate doing it. However, I am great with kids, and I love interacting in a place of work. Jo is very practical and is fantastic around the home, and is also great with kids. She would love to stay at home rather than work. Brilliant! Add a man into the mix with his support and his … er …. his …. whatever it is a man has to offer, or wants to offer to the household, and it gets even better. (Still not talking about sex).
Again, I’m being flippant, a bad habit. A husband would have loads to offer me of course, but so would a wife. I’d get my freedom back. I could do a job of work. I could not be so goddam tired all the time.
This is a quote from Psychology Today’s blog from 2011 written by Michael Price PhD: ‘When polygamous marriages occur in premodern societies, they are overwhelmingly likely to involve polygyny (one husband, multiple wives) as opposed to polyandry (one wife, multiple husbands). Overall, of the 1,231 cultures in the Ethnographic Atlas Codebook, 84.6 percent are classified as polygynous, 15.1 percent as monogamous, and 0.3 percent as polyandrous.’
If polygamy wasn’t a ‘natural’ state for both men and women, it simply wouldn’t be happening on this scale, would it? There’s obvious psychological and sociological reasons for this given in the source and in plenty of other sites on the subject. I won’t go into them (boring), but it’s all there: Google it.
Okay, okay – now it’s time to talk about sex. In my humble opinion, the male sex instinct is arguably the most obviously polygamous. This isn’t the case for all men I’m sure, but even after twenty-plus years of being involved with men, I find the lengths some of them go to just to have sex simply astonishing. I remember one time, many years ago now, when three married men in as many weeks made sexual advances toward me. I knocked all of them back, but I felt that marriage was a joke for a long time afterwards. Wouldn’t polygamy provide an outlet for this aspect of the male sex drive? One that has boundaries and kindness, even serves the greater good of his family rather than destroys it?
In the society in which I live, the idea of a polygamous relationship in whatever form it wishes to take is scandalous and unacceptable. Why? Who says? Not the Bible – it’s full of it. Not the Koran either I’m led to believe. So who messed up the ‘natural order’? I don’t care enough to find out – but the rebel in me resents being dictated to by it. So what’s the reason I’m not in a polygamous relationship right now?
Why am I holding out for one good man to realise that I’m the one for him, rather than a couple? (And having some fun in the process of course).
I guess it must be plain, old-fashioned sexual jealousy.
I just don’t think I could sit and watch a man I loved, and was intimate with, love and be intimate with another woman – even a best mate like Jo. It would drive me mad with jealousy. You see, I’m fundamentally a one-man woman, and I expect the same respect from a man.
Oh, sorry, I’m the one messing up the natural order of things then. Maybe sexual jealousy is just social-conditioning, or maybe it’s human nature too? I don’t know. But, whatever the crux of my own annoying instinct to be monogamous is, it doesn’t change the fact that polygamy is certainly a splendid idea.