TV seems to be at its peak right now, producing some of the best entertainment art available. Some of my personal favorites are HBO's Game of Thrones, Netflix's House of Cards, AMC's Mad Men, & Showtime's Masters of Sex. If you don't watch these shows, there are major spoilers in this post.*** I always loved Picasso's old quote that "art is the lie that reveals truth." Because it's so true.
If we were characters in Game of Thrones, I believe we'd be closest matched to Prince Oberyn and Ellaria Sand, in lifestyle and ideology. Of course there are similarities and differences between us, but this couple is the quintessential polyamorous couple of the show.
Shows like Game of Thrones are so refreshing, because they apply to our day to day lives. Game of Thones is set in a harsh, savage environment, but at its core, it's about people and families living their lives surviving. It's utterly brilliant, and when I watch it, I feel it makes me smarter. Game of Thrones is extremely visceral, but it makes it all the more impactful. This show is extremely broad, wise, and exhilarating. To anyone who isn't watching it already, I seriously recommend Game of Thrones as one of the best pieces of entertainment art our culture currently has to offer. Do yourself a favor, you need to watch it.
If we were on House of Cards, we would be like a non-sinister version of Frank and Carrie Underwood. They are a rogue, polyamorous couple– who, besides committing severe ethical quandaries, keep the inner-workings of their relationship behind closed doors. Of course, we differ from them- but it's cool to see a protagonist be polyamorous. They also seem to be portrayed as having a "scientific" outlook, but Frank is nihilistic, sordidly calculating, and mostly compassionless.
For those who are watching, it's clear Mad Men always takes unexpected turns. I love how Roger Sterling seems to have adopted a polyamorous lifestyle, that seems to be open and egalitarian with his partner. They both freely see other people, seem emotionally available for each other, and are supportive. Mad Men is heralded for it's attention to detail and accuracy for reflecting the time period it's set in. It's nice to imagine that the polyamorous lifestyle isn't a radically new one. Mad Men hasn't concluded yet, but we suspect this won't work for Roger– if only because the time period he lived in was not so open minded and accepting (and let's be honest, Roger lacks essential communication skills).
On Masters of Sex, our counterparts made an appearance in episode 6 "Brave New World." It is an old married couple played by Barry Bostwick and Caroline Lagerfelt who behave like "young love." They are uninhibited, romantic, and compassionate. It is revealed that the elderly couple has an open relationship the moment the man tries to pull a move on Libby. In some ways, this show is about the liberation of science to try to explain love. When Bill Masters overhears this couple copulating in the next room, he becomes fascinated by their age and continued sex drive.
Why is it that the ideal monogamous storyline in our culture is referred to as "The Hollywood Fairy Tale?" Why does the prevailing wisdom often seem to suggest marriage is a tradition we endure for the good of our children? People have this misconception that human beings are above nature, but we are no more above nature than a shaky surfer is above the ocean. Why is cheating so prevalent? I don't think it's because people are bad– I think it's because there is something wrong with the monogamous storyline we've been fed. People are driven to seek intimate connections because that is how we are hardwired, and it feels goods for everyone involved if it is mutually fulfilling. I don't think sexual behavior is immoral or shameful. I think it is beautiful and should be celebrated. I also think, as a culture, we should better learn to control our jealousy and encourage self-reflection and open communication.
Regarding children, I happen to believe that the most important thing for children growing up is stability. Whether parents are heterosexual, homosexual, monogamous, or non-monogamous– kids need to feel loved and supported. If kids experience compassion growing up, they'll be more than fine. They won't care if their parents have one partner or many; they won't be ashamed of what's normal for them. Teach children to verbally defend themselves. If you communicate with them well, they will communicate well with others.
Monogamy is a valid choice to structure one's life, but it is not the only choice. You are free.