“I’m poly,” I wrote her. “So it’s complicated.”
“How come I’m only finding out now?” She wanted to know. “Most poly people put it in their profile. I am not poly.”
“I’m sorry,” I said. “I forgot to add it.”
“Well, take care then.”
We had hit off unusually well. Most of my conversations on dating apps are dead on arrival.
I have slightly better luck on Jswipe than on Tinder: apparently not being blond and six foot two disqualifies me from most Canadians; being five foot six with a massive nose makes me a total Jewish catch.
She divulged to me that she’d had some past trauma. I asked her if there was anything I should avoid saying or doing that might trigger her. She said no one had ever asked her that before.
We were making plans for a call, maybe even a date. Those milestones that seem miles away through the endless swiping, swiping, swiping. “I have 36 new likes, would I like to pay to see who liked me?” I would not.
Then polyamory came up, and it was over.
“You are capable of loving more than one person, of navigating the emotional complexities inherent in multiple romantic relationships? I want nothing more to do with you.”
Here’s what could have been. I could have been a total bro. Chad McGoldberg. Met up, divulged nothing, kept her around for a few months, slept with multiple women, keepin’ it casual. Then moved on on a whim. As long as nothing gets too serious, and there’s no reason why it should, this can go on for years. Tell me that the person you’re seeing tonight hasn’t slept with someone else last night and another person tomorrow?
But it’s not official. There’s theoretical monogamy on the theoretical horizon. We might settle down and have kids one day. Who knows? We’re still feeling it out.
Give yourself a title, make it formal, and you’re out on the streets. Poly.
I once had a woman refuse to date me because I called myself a libertarian. I thought it meant believing in minimal government intervention. I didn’t realize it came with an assumption that I was a gun toting asshole.
Similarly, I recognize that Poly also comes with its own associations. With militant evangelists who tout it as the only way to be, and who vilify jealousy; with people just using it as an excuse to sleep around, with hippy communes. Like vegans, but with relationships.
But still, it seems unfair. Why is that the one thing I’m expected to put in my 400 character bio? Do other people put in their commitment levels, their desire to have kids, their fucked up relationships with sex and intimacy?
What if I’m actually single right now? What if she’s slept with more people in the last month than I have in the last year?
Well, take care then.
God forbid there should be something in my life that is normal, conventional, the easy route. I am destined to always be forging my own path, while glancing to the side as the rest of the world takes the high road.
There’s no app for that.