So I've been watching the new HBO series - Big Love. (It's about a family practicing polygamy in Utah.)
I find myself liking it, despite myself. My initial thought about it was that it was some gay chick show. I only watched it because a) my wife was excited about it and I was hoping that, by being supportive of her chick shows, I'd subsequently get laid, and b) Because Bill Paxton's in it. I don't know about you, but I think he's one of the best actors out there. I mean he was Chet from Wierd Science, Severen from Near Dark, and - my personal favorite - Hudson from Aliens. ("Game over, man! Game over! Why don't we put HER in charge, man!")
Turns out the show is really good. There's a lot of intrigue and drama between Bill Paxton's character and the leader of their particular Mormon sect, played by the incomparable Harry Dean Stanton.
Plus, all three of Bill's wives are hot in their own unique way.
The thing is, watching this show got me thinking about the whole idea of polygamy. I mean, I can understand it, but I'm not sure how well it works in practice. How do you not have jealousy? And (showing my liberalism here) how is this beneficial to the women in the relationship? I mean, it seems to me to be all about the man, and his needs. Now granted, the show may not be indicative of how the real polygamist community works; and I suspect that it's not - it is dramatized television after all. But it seems to me it's about the guy being able to have multiple partners, while the women can only sit by and watch the husband bang someone else whenever the mood takes him.
So the inevitable question arises; could I, Doctor Zombie, be in a polygamist relationship?
My long answer: Probably not. I'm a one woman zombie and I have to expect that it is not healthy for any of those involved. I've said as much about the idea of open relationships as well. And polygamy is different than an open relationship. An open relationship is about varying degrees of affection. ("I LOVE you and you alone, but I just have sex with someone else for gratification"). Polygamy implies the SAME LEVEL of committment to more than one woman. I don't know how to seperate that. And, the final consideration - and this is borne out in the show - is what about the kids? I mean it would be great to have three women at my beck and call to satisfy my needs. The whole "I've got a headache", or the "I've got to work in the morning", or the "You want to put what where?!?" arguments are effectively nullified when I can say, "All right, on to wife number two's bed then, honey!"; but I still think that there's not enough benefit in that to justify the emotional turmoil and confusion.
My short Answer: Are you fucking kidding me? Like I don't have enough stress from ONE woman nagging at me...
I've been meaning to pick up Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer. It addresses many of these questions. Now I really do because I've been thinking about it more because of this show...