Last week I bit the bullet and downloaded OK Cupid, the online dating app. I want a relationship but I also want to stay home most evenings and be in bed by 9:00 PM. This is not conducive to dating in the modern world, so, online dating, here we go!
I talked to a nice hipster we will call “Jeff”. Jeff was tall and lean and had dark hair, looked very tall, had dark eyes, wore glasses, and seemed to be a very positive person. I loved that he seemed very open and into nutrition and did yoga sometimes; it was all looking great.
I always text my girlfriends on a group chat about my whereabouts, plans and the guy’s name before I meet him. I text them as I wait for Jeff and I scroll through his profile one more time. He is running a bit late but sending me selfies of his train ride in, which is cute.
I read his profile and review his photos one more time. Suddenly, to my shock and surprise, I see something I did not scroll far enough to see the previous day – “I am polyamorous…” – I just open my eyes widely. Wait, what? How did I not see this?! I text my friends my dilemma – they say “Brittany, you HAVE to start reading the entire profile!”
I sit at the bar with my coffee and slowly sip it. It came with almonds as a garnish but I eat them anyway. I keep looking up at every door noise to see if it’s Jeff, my heart pounding out of my chest. What am I going to DO right now? I respect everyone’s rights and choices but there is no way I see myself in a relationship that is poly. I think of how my ex-boyfriend told me about a girl he dated after me and I felt this dark rage welling up inside of me. I did not even know this woman, but I felt sick. I imagined him asking her for her number all cute and smiling and it makes me nauseated, even now months later. The mere thought of an ex with a new lady has my stomach in knots. I think about Jeff who is on his way and I tell myself: I have to be kind here, right now. I accepted a date from a polyamorous man by accident and I will be an adult about it and see it through.
He arrives and I shake his hand. He is tall, he has a lanky gait, and he seems very touchy in a nonintrusive, sweet way. He orders a hot chocolate and we start chatting. I find my nerves calming down incrementally as we continue to talk about favorite movies and types of yoga.
Jeff asks me if I have any questions for him and I just jump in and say: “yes, I did not see until just now that you identify as polyamorous, this is very interesting!” – I try to say in my most laid-back, non-judgmental way. He says “yes, I am” and now we are cooking with sauce. I ask him a lot of questions. I tell him about my angry thoughts about my ex and a girl I do not know, and how I personally cannot fathom the idea of someone else being with my partner.
He is really kind and we chat for about an hour. He explains to me where a lot of his ideas come from: the renowned book Sex At Dawn by Cacilda Jethá and Christopher Ryan. This books delves into a time when we were all in communities together where the men impregnated the women and did not know which one was the father, but they considered themselves all the child’s father. While it sounds lovely, this is 2017 and we are in a city of millions of people and not in a cave with a tribe. The discussion is very thought provoking.
He tells me about the different rules and limits people can have within this community. This part is fascinating. Some people cannot have sex with anyone but their main boyfriend / girlfriend, but they can fool around with other people. I like that he knows who he is and what he wants and needs. He is living his values – that’s the best any of us can do.
I only have an uncomfortable moment when he tries to explain about his sex life. I do my best to convey that while I respect him, also, “I’m sorry; I just can’t with the group sex” and he picks up my vibe and we leave that topic behind, thankfully. He kindly purchases our hot drinks and asks if he can walk me to my car. I say “yes” and we have a nice stroll among the moonlight and skyscrapers in the beautiful city. We reach my car and Jeff takes my hand, kisses it, and says “I hope we can do this again soon” and he smiles, it is very pleasant and I hop into my car with a smile on my face.
Driving home I think about the encounter and I decide I am glad I had this experience. This was a really nice, kind, compassionate and intelligent man and we had an amazing conversation. No, I can’t date him with his beliefs being so different from my own, but I respect him for being honest. It takes balls to tell people that you are polyamorous and are pursuing other females. I flash back to when I saw an ex’s profile on Tinder (while we were dating) and I think again – this guy probably has a few things figured out after all.
It is not my cup of tea but I tip my hat to Jeff and wish him nothing but the best. I hope he finds his lobster(s) one day.