Thursday, August 19, 2004

Three

So some of you are probably wondering, "what happened to the food on this blog?" Settling into San Francisco has been a bit of a chore, so I've been reduced to scarfing down meals consisting of canned beans and quick vegan mac & cheese. Once things slow down, I'll be able to get back to what I love most, cooking.

In the meantime, I've had lots of time to think about random things while riding my bike through town. One such random thought was that of committed threesomes. No, not the wham bam, thank you ma'am variety, but actual long-term relationships. The photobook "Three" by Howard Roffman chronicles the lives of such a threesome, who happen to be Americans living in London. Getting a couple to work is hard enough. I don't know how these guys do it.





There's a Greg Araki movie, Splendor, that deals with another threesome configuration.



Totally unlike his previous nihilistic work, I liked it a lot more than I expected. If any of you out there have been in a long-term relationship even remotely similar to the above, tell me about it!

***

This just in! From my friend BigheadBen (his site contains some sexual content. If that isn't your cup of tea, don't click the link!):

"There is a great book called When We Were Three about a decade-long 3 way, sort of, between publisher Monroe Wheeler, author Glenway Wescott, and photographer George Platt Lynnes in 1920-30 Paris, NY. Chock full of photos of some really hot boys. and Gertrude Stein..."


3 comments:

Anonymous said...

TRIAD
Played by Jerry Garcia with David Crosby, Phil Lesh and Mickey Hart in December 1970 in shows billed as "Jerry Garcia and Friends."

You want to know how it will be
Me and her, or you and me
You both stand there, your long hair flowing
Eyes alive, your minds still growing
Saying to me: "What can we do now that we both love you?"
I love you too
I don't really see
Why can't we go on as three

You are afraid, embarrased too
No one has ever said such a thing to you
Your mother's ghost stands at your shoulder
Face like ice, a little bit colder
Saying to you: "You cannot do that it breaks all the rules
You learned in school"
I don't really see
Why can't we go on as three

We love each other, it's plain to see
There's just one answer that comes to me
Sister lovers, water brothers
And in time, maybe others
So you see, what we can do is to try something new
If you're crazy too
I don't really see
Why can't we go on as three?

--------------
Good ol' Jerry Garcia had it right. Though he had a girl in the mix, the feeling is there - just because it's the societal norm to have two people in a committed relationship, for some people with the right mix of personalities three can work.

My name's Walter, but 99% of my friends call me Archer. I'm in the seventh year of a relationship with two other guys. We'll call them Darren and Jed, mostly because those are their names. The other two had been together for a couple of years when they attended a sci-fi convention; Jed encouraged Darren to go have a one-night fling with the brooding guy leaning over the railing. We went home together, I forgot my watch and called the next day to get it, and we've been together pretty much since. No, I *didn't* forget the watch on purpose. (Darren insists I did.)
If you think that's weird, I'm told Jed met Darren at a naturist birthday party, and left their dates to go home with each other. Darren made him breakfast the next morning, and before he knew it a cat and a futon moved in.
As you can see, our relationship has been odd since inception. As for making it work? I think most threes fail due to jealousy, balance, and lack of personal space.
If you get jealous of the time the other two spend on each other, a rift will form. The answer is to trust each other and to be honest about your feelings.
You've got to be aware of what the other two are doing. Be aware of their emotional states, keep things muted if someone's having a rough day. Pick up the slack if someone else forgets to do the dishes - you'll forget to do the laundry next week.
In a twosome, you can spend half your time with the other and half your time alone and be fine on personal space. In a threesome, it's trickier - it's easy for both of the others to want half of your time, and you suddenly find no time for yourself. *Believe me,* that's critical to not feeling overwhelmed by your partners. In our family, we each have one room in the house that's ours and ours alone where the others don't intrude uninvited. Darren's front porch, where he meditates and watches the squirrels on our tree; Jed's got a little room, hardly larger than a walk-in closet, for his artwork; I've got a room in the basement, tricked out as a blackroom. In a three, you don't need a third more space as a two, you need twice as much space.

Anonymous said...

I'm the Big, Hairy Bear in the threesome Archer mentions above and ou relationship confuses a lot of our contempories and families. After a lot of thought I explain it this way: Being in a three way relationship in it's seventh year for me means...

Learning that the common notion that there is only one person in the whole wide world that is your perfect match and will complete you and make all the stupid things that happened to you and that you did growing up all better and make your life filled everyday with sunshine, roses and chocolates is probably not true.

Learning that there is room in you life and heart for a lot of people and that loving someone means holding them loosely and letting them grow and change rather then changing them to fit your needs and dreams. That someone who stays with you because that's the one place in the whole world they want to be more then any other is the best feeling there is.

Learning that jealously has a lot to do with wanting your own way and wanting to change or control someone else and that isn't what loving someone is about. You do not own a morgage on someone's soul, you don't rent or lease it, they choose to share it with you. There is a difference between feeling left out and being jealous. If in a three+ way relationship you feel left out then something is wrong and you need to address it with the others directly and honestly.

You have to talk. As hard as it is, and difficult as it is getting the words out, you have to talk. Passive agressive behavior is neither fair nor an effective means of communication. For a three+ way relationship to work you have to ask for what you want out of life. You have to speak up when something bothers you and you have to give others the respect and right to have strong feelings. That last one is the hardest, many people fear confrontation and hide their misgivings, affronts and disagreements. But if you don't have the right to disagree or to get angry or to just sit a while and feel sad for no real reason at all then you quickly find that by guarding those feelings from the ones you love makes it all that much harder to share the good times, those unspoken feelings are still there and they color everything until you deal with them.

You have to understand your priorities. You come first in your life, your loves second and the rest follows after. This does not mean your wants are any greater then thiers or that you are the center of the universe, it just means that taking care of yourself makes it possible to have something to give to others. Or in cliche speak, Hoe your own garden, plant your own flowers and pick your own weeds. Help is always appreciated but know that you can do the job yourself.

To make it work you also need to get over the foolish idea that a relationship is a 50/50 deal. It's more then that, you give and do more then you think is your fair share or it doesn't work. The idea that you're only responsible for 50% of what goes on or needs to be done means you're keeping score and you've already lost.

And the hardest bit of contempory thought to get past is the idea that one person can fulfill your every sexual need, want and desire; that they will be the be all and end all of your sexual experience and universe. We are diverse creatures who celebrate a wide range of appitites and tastes from the subtle to the outright kinky. For me to ask one of my loves to fulfill all my wicked desires would be unfair and foolish; conversly I have the right to say "no, not tonight my love." and have it respected without guilt. So the answer I have found that works for me is that we set each other free to pursue our desires, and accept that sex is sex and fun is fun and love can be shared without making it less. Once you get passed jealousies control issues and are not feeling left out it's so much easier to accept the idea that my love can romp in the bushes and still be secure in the fact he has a place next to me. I want someone with me because that's where the want to be, and do not begrude the times we're apart. It is perhaps an curiousity of contemporary cultural behavior that three gay man have little trouble with the idea of not being monogamious. However acting responsibily has a role to play as well, as does safe sex.

Love is knowing that you can go on without the other person, that you are strong in your own right but that your life will be immeasurably dimmished by thier loss and conversly immeasurablly filled by the time you shared. Learning that makes sharing your life far easier then figuring out how to keep a playroom stocked with three randy gay men in the house.

All in all when you look at it, being in a threeway is much like being in any other relationship. You work at it a little harder perhaps and are more mindful of the others state of mind. But the things that make it work, are the same that make most any strong relationship work.

Lundroc Aka. Darren

Marc-Anthony said...

My boyfriends and I just celebrated 2 years as a triad. Oddly, it's less stressful and anxiety-inducing than a two-person relationship.

M-A

Here's an article I wrote about our relationship for Frontiers Magazine: http://www.frontierspublishing.com/mag/index.php?o=art&article=455

http://city-of-dis.livejournal.com/