Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Marry For You?

My next episode is ironic given the previous one on gay marriage.

Novelist and essayist Gore Vidal, 81, on gay marriage: “Since heterosexual marriage is such a disaster, why on earth would anybody want to imitate it?”

Okay, I know that this idea will not go down well with a lot of Filipinos, gay or straight. After all, the predominant culture is geared towards the idea of marriage and the “‘til death do us part” routine. We are primed to think: No one wants to grow old alone. You need someone to be whole, to make you complete. Oh yeah, and that idea of a “soul-mate” is still gasping for breath even at this day and age.

But because circumstances have conspired to keep me single my whole life, I’ve been forced to rethink things, to question ideas that were just imposed on me by our culture while growing up.

So far I’ve come to this conclusion: while I will support the right for gays to get married, I don’t exactly want to be married myself. Well okay, ‘wag tayong magsalita ng tapos; malay mo may makilala ako who might make me change my mind. But knowing me it’ll take me yeeeeeeeears before I decide, “Okay, you’re the one I will get married to.” And I’ll only do that to get the legal benefits of marriage. Otherwise I believe that sticking it out with someone should be a personal decision and not due to social, legal or (most especially) religious pressure. Plus I am also open to the idea that, if there be marriage then let there be divorce too.

And what’s the big deal on exclusivity? What’s the rationale behind it? Why the need to be exclusive? I can understand why polygamy is unwieldy from a material possession standpoint: how will numerous wives share and divide the wealth of their husband? But can two or more people share the love of one man? Isn’t a man’s heart big enough to accommodate loving many people? And if you think about it, maybe the idea of “sharing the love” of one man is not possible at all. After all each individual we love is loved uniquely; trying to measure and compare love may be futile.

And if love is really a generous, outward-looking emotion, then are people being “selfish” when they insist on exclusivity in a relationship? Is this “selfishness” a justified kind of selfish? Or is it a “healthy” kind of selfish? Is there such a thing?

Anyway, I have those questions. I don’t have answers.



Nelson said...

oh dahlin! we should have a long and interesting talk some time (well, perhaps when i go back after a couple of years). plus the those masahistas who give great sensations he he he ;-)

joelmcvie said...

I KNOW! You pa of all people. :-)

Siyempre, kahit email o even YM, feeling ko kulang pa rin. Fez-2-fez talkiz lang ang katapat niyan.

Jedd said...

“Okay, you’re the one I will get married to.” Very curiously worded hehe. Now we know it's the other guy who will need to get down on one knee. ;) Pa-long hair ka pala huh, sir McV!

I can't imagine genuinely loving more than one person at the same time. Kung sex pa siguro, perhaps..
but love? Malabo yun. Versus love, polygamy is really just about getting your cockadoodle into as much Virginia as possible.

joelmcvie said...

JEDD: "I can't imagine genuinely loving more than one person at the same time."

Well, I can and I don't have to imagine it. I genuinely love my late dad, may he rest in peace. And I genuinely love my mom. I genuinely love my neice Naya. And I genuinely love my friend Leigh. So you can see, I can genuinely love more than one persona at the same time. I just love them in different ways, but those differences do not make my love any less genuine.

And I believe you are too quick to pigeon-hole those who practive polygamy as just horny folks. Maybe you need to watch HBO's original series, "Big Love" starring Bill Paxton.

Jedd said...

:) Obviously I meant love in romantic relationship terms: boyfriends. I can't imagine myself in a genuine loving relationship with two-three-four guys at the same time. Committing myself to them emotionally, physically, and sexually all at the same time.

I haven't seen Big Love yet. Maybe it will answer some of my own questions about polygamy. How does a "relationship no.2" start? What makes a man look for a second woman? Is it to fill something lacking from his first? Does it just happen naturally or is it pre-empted? When a woman shares his man, is he being generous of love to the other person? Or is it resgination? Fear?

Interesting questions, and I don't know the answers :)

joelmcvie said...

Interesting questions indeed. :-)

But let me just get back to romantic love multiplied several times. If we make an imperfect analogy, it's like genuinely loving several siblings at the same time. I genuinely love all my brothers and sisters, but I also love them very differently from one another. I spend more time with some more than others, I am emotionally closer to a couple more than the rest. In that way, it is possible that a person can love two or more--provided that all parties involved are in agreement.

See the big difference? In our society we immediately equate having two or more lovers as having a "kabit", an affair of indiscretion. Patago, in secret. But what if ALL parties are in agreement?

Yes, commiting oneself emotionally, physically and sexually to more than one person at the same time will demand a lot. Especially FINANCIALLY (you forgot that commitment). Which I guess is why polygamy isn't a very popular choice. One has to work hard to meet one's commitments. (That, by the way, is what "Big Love" tries to show--having more than one has its ups as well as its downs.)

Dios ko, dapat mag-talk show na lang ako!

joelmcvie said...

One more thing: another difficulty regarding this discussion is that LOVE is very difficult, if not impossible, to measure and compare. Love resists comparisons. Love is like snowflakes; no two are alike.

So while one can genuinely love more than one person at the same time, the genuine-ness of the love may be equal but very different from one another. It's like apples and oranges; to paraphrase the song, "nothing compares to love." Something like that.

Jedd said...

Ohhhh, just for fun's sake :) Let's throw in a monkey wrench...

Let's take this generous love to higher levels! Picture a man with three wives. Each of these wives may also decide to be generous of their own love, and have second, third, fourth husbands as well! It's one big happy family, ohhh!

Come to think of it, polygamy is also about the man expressing his dominion over women. He's too much of a man to have and support just one woman. Would a man agree to share his wife? Out of generousity?

I'm gay, so I'm very understanding of love that is different, diffcult. I suppose if polygamy is an orientation rather then a choice, I have to respect that. My gut says it's not.

Hot topic :) Take care, McV

joelmcvie said...

JEDD: Interesting topic indeed! Polygyny (man with multiple wives), polyandry (woman with multiple husbands) and group marriage (some combination of polygyny and polyandry) have been done throughout history, though polygyny is the most common form of polygamy. Any additional person into the mix will obviously mean additional arrangements and negotiations, wich means additional headaches over-all. I suppose keeping to one is the simplest, therefore the most popular still.

Re "polygamy is an orientation rather then a choice", I don't think so. Polygamy is a practice, a form of relationship one chooses to go into. It's not like sexual orientation where one has no choice.