So I went to the Whitney Museum to see their Summer of Love art exhibition which turned out to be somewhat interesting, but it made me glad that I had gotten in for free using my corporate ID. The exhibition came from the Tate Liverpool in England, and while the idea was great, the concept was lacking in terms of putting it in context with what was going on in the wider world. The best thing about the whole exhibit was the audio music tape that was free with your ticket. I got to hear a lot of great music that I knew and a lot that I didn't.
What does this have to with relationships (the theme of this week?). Well, it started me thinking about this book that I had read in high school that came out in the early 60's, called The Harrad Experiment by Robert Rimmer. It's about a college where all the students learn about sexuality and free love. I had seen the movie on HBO (starring a very young Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith, in fact it's the movie where they first met and fell in love), and was curious to read the book.
The man who wrote the book, Robert Rimmer, wrote it as a criticism of the assumption of monogamy as a societal norm. All the characters in his books discover that they're much happier in arrangements such as the one on "Big Love" or "polyamorous" relationships. At first it sounds all warm and fuzzy, this idea of 'free love' but of course it doesn't take into account human emotions, and the fact that people have a tendency to get attached, even when they're trying not too.
Personally I think it's bunk. Not that it probably doesn't work for some people, but it would never work for me. I was never good as a child at sharing my toys, and I would definitely never be good at sharing a man with not just one woman, but a bunch of them. I sucked at even dating more than one person at a time.
And I definitely get attached to people, to places, to things. I'm the worst person in the world to ever be in harem or in a commune. Unless, I'm running things like being the chief wife (the Kadin) or the head of the commune.
I remember watching a nature special on lions, where the poor male lion had to service entire pride of female lions, to the point that the poor thing looked like he needed the animal version of Viagra. In the end, I just think it sounds like a lot more work than just dealing with two people in a relationship.
I think that's why I read romance, because it's about the journey of one man, and one woman towards finding love and a relationship that's fulfiling. Not that it's going to be one happy long yellow brick road of happiness. The conflict doesn't end just because the hero and heroine declare their love and their desire to be together. We know when we put down the book that there will be bumps in the road ahead, but we believe in the power of their love (to quote the only Celine Dion song that I like) to overcome whatever obstacles might come into their path.
Thanks for reading,