Well, let’s not be shy about it: 2010 sucked. I think every person I know went through some kind of major life change this year, including myself, and even though many of those changes were for the better, they still hurt when they happened, and many of them continue to sting now. 2010 was one of those years that won’t just fade into the background of memory so that some time from now you’ll be sitting around reminiscing and go, “Remember that time that we did this thing? Wait, when was that? How long ago was that?” I think everything that happened this year was cataclysmic enough that it’ll be a benchmark for everything that comes after.
I had a great and terrible year all at once. It started out fantastic, with my first-ever trip to the AVN awards and AEE porn expo on my first-ever trip to Las Vegas, where I met a bunch of my porn idols and set up some networking that has taken me very far. I’m going back next week! But on that trip my cowriter had a panic attack, we lost one of our party into some guy’s room at the Flamingo for a whole day (he had drugs), we spent way too much money, I lost my wallet, and we missed our plane back to NYC.
Shortly thereafter, my girlfriend broke up with me with absolutely no notice or reason, then ceased speaking to me for months. Then we started talking again and now we’re together again.
Right after that, I got the best news of my life: my McSweeney’s column had gotten some attention from publishers and TV people, who made all kinds of grand gestures and flew me to LA to meet producers and agents and lawyers, who I agreed to work with… Then spent the rest of the year sitting around waiting for something to happen. I’m still waiting. It’s an awesome opportunity, but DAMN is it a long time coming.
I quit my full-time job and became a full-time writer, then proceeded to get anxious about starving to death.
My boyfriend moved out to start a PhD program 3 hours away. I love living alone but I can’t afford it.
I tried to write a book and failed. Now I have a blog.
Things have been weird all around.
I think the tumult of 2010 has given me a good perspective on what I really WANT out of 2011. The past few years just showed up, whether I was ready for them or not, but this time I feel pretty solid about where I’m going. It’s nowhere special, particularly, but it involves me actively pursuing happiness instead of book or TV deals. It means more painting and creative writing and positive energy and good sex. Lots of good sex on the menu. I’m ready for it, and the revolution. I’m pretty sure the revolution is coming, if zombies don’t happen first. Dan Savage, who makes me happy just by virtue of existing, is out there stirring up trouble for monogamists, and I’m totally behind him. Remember that “girlfriend broke up with me, boyfriend moved out” thing? I had both at once, and I’ve never been happier. Monogamy is for doobs. Or people who are really good at it. But not me From Kinsey Confidential:
AC: When I told people I was interviewing you, they all said ask, “Him his thoughts on monogamy,” because that is something that comes up every now and again in your podcast. It makes visits fairly often.
Dan Savage: Well, it’s usually the problem. I don’t think everyone should be in a non-monogamous relationship. I’m not prescriptive about it. I’m in a non-monogamous relationship and that’s dangerous for a gay male couple with kids to say out loud, right? Because people assume a level of promiscuity that appalls even me. I’ve been here in Bloomington for eight weeks and I haven’t touched anybody. Not that I didn’t want to! A lot of really cute guys here in Bloomington, but that’s not the way I roll.
The problem with monogamy is we’re not any good at it. How many Elliot Spitzers, David Bitters, Bill Clintons, John Edwards… How many times do we have to watch the same story, watch the same play before we realize that it’s in the script?
Everyone, even if you’re going to be monogamous, needs to acknowledge that monogamy is not natural and it’s not easy. Love doesn’t mean that you don’t want to sleep with other people. Love means, if you make a monogamous commitment, means you will refrain from sleeping with other people. You will still wannna – and you will wanna bad – and you will both wanna. Women get away with pretending they never wanna.
We have put a lie at the heart of all of our long-term romantic relationships and then we wonder why they fall apart. Two people are looking at each other and lying to each other every day about something very important, and they both know that the other is lying every day. Then they don’t trust each other, oddly enough, after all that lying back and forth. It’s so much healthier just to acknowledge, even if you are going to make a monogamous commitment, that that is going to be an effort and there will be consequences to that. There are consequences to non-monogamy.
When the non-monogamous relationship falls apart, everyone blames non-monogamy. When a monogamous relationship falls apart, nobody blames monogamy. I have observed so many relationships that were otherwise decent that could have survived for the long haul if people had just been allowed to be off leash every once in a while – which does not mean anything goes. “You say you’re not monogamous. Oh, so that means you can sleep with anybody, anytime, anywhere?” No. No. “You’re monogamous. Do you sleep with each other anytime, anywhere that you want?” No.
Monogamy is stupid and people are bad at it. That’s what I think. It doesn’t work. We have the divorce rate to prove it. We have David Arquette and Courtney Cox now. You can’t open a magazine, you can’t leave the house without hearing about people cheating on each other. If we continue to define cheating on each other as a divorce-level, breakup-level offense, we are packing our relationships with dynamite and blowing them up over and over and over again. I think a relationship should be able to survive a routine infidelity, because infidelity is routine. We need to reconceive how we regard it. The problem is – now I’m going to rant.
AC: Go for it!
DS: For most of recorded human history, men weren’t supposed to be monogamous. It was required. They had concubines. They had whores. They had mistresses. They had more than one wife. Monogamy was really for women and all about paternal anxiety and assuaging that – enslaving women, really. It was about control. To the credit of our species, it took us however many tens of thousands of years before we realized that wasn’t egalitarian, and about 60 years ago we decided to make it fairzies.
But we made a big mistake. Rather than giving women the same latitude and freedom that men had enjoyed, we said men had to now hew to the monogamous ideal that had been imposed on women. It has been a disaster for straight people and straight relationships, and the children of straight people. Disaster.