Poly Means Many: There are many aspects of polyamory. Each month, the PMM bloggers will write about their views on one of them. Links to all posts can be found at www.polymeansmany.com.
No-one told me that being poly would mean I have to buy more towels. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I didn’t have any towels it’s just that I only had a couple which isn’t exactly ideal when there are more than two people who want to have a shower on the same, or subsequent days. And we all know, for many reasons beyond their simple drying capabilities, that towels are very important, after all:
any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still know where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with
So I went and bought two thick, fluffy new towels. A purple one for Kirsty, a red one for Clare. I have yet to buy myself a blue towel with yellow stars…
No-one told me I would have to buy towels. When Kirsty and I first discussed the wonderful possibilities that lay in front of us in the land of polyamory, towels did not come up in the conversation. Nor were they mentioned in any book, article or blog post that I read at the time… or since for that matter.
But that’s ok. A couple of towels is a small price to pay and it’s a small, simple gesture that affirms relationship status, and we shouldn’t discount the power small gestures have. Think on how good it feels when you make someone smile with a small act of kindness. That there is the towel effect (as I’m now calling it, apparently). The towels say ‘you are part of my life’, ‘our relationship is important’, the towels also say ‘let me dry you’ … but that’s a whole other thing.
Simple acts of kindness are commonplace in all good relationships; small gestures, little presents, signs of partnership and love that are personal. So, whilst these things aren’t unique in poly relationships, they maybe hold a little more weight than we sometimes realise.
It’s not about keeping score, or always being unique — as well as buying both partners towels, they also have their own Scrabble letter mugs in my flat for those coffee in bed mornings — but it’s a simple way to show that each person is as important as the other.
Don’t get me wrong, these small gestures won’t save any relationships, and if they dramatically impact the relationships negatively then I’d suggest you have other issues to confront but so far it’s been nice to learn the likes and dislikes of my partners and to try and accommodate them as best I can in my home and my life.
I keep a good supply of tea in my flat. I don’t drink tea but Kirsty lives on the stuff. I am not a big wine drinker on the whole, but I have a few bottles in because Clare prefers drinking wine. Both of my partners have a ‘drawer’, and a pair of hair straighteners live in my flat (and I clearly have zero need for those myself). Pandas, kittens. Leopard print, leather.
These are little gestures that cost virtually nothing but let the people I love know that they are part of my life. It’s important to me and once you start noticing these things, and sharing them with your partners it becomes infectious. I’ve lost count of the number of times when, wandering round the shops with one of my partners, they exclaim ‘Ohhhh, she’d love that…’ in reference to the other.
As yet the little gestures haven’t really needed to extend to my metamour but as chance would have it, he and Kirsty are away for a few nights so I get to help him out and feed his cat whilst they are away. Another little gesture.
Within our little poly family we don’t have a sense of primary and secondary partners. Kirsty and I have the longest running relationship but that gives me no ‘rights’ over and above Mark, or Kirsty over Clare. So perhaps, for us, these little gestures carry a little more weight as they (hopefully) reaffirm this belief and ultimately contribute to a happy, loving group of people.
The little things count, that’s for sure.