"I've been trying to tell you for a couple of months now but it never leaves my lips, I Love You." He tells me for the first time since we've met, which is over a year by now. The words don't seem to come easily from either of us because there is so much attached to the idea of love, especially given how our love for each other operates in our lives. Both of us have long-term boyfriends, but it's not as though we are keeping secrets. We don't relate to each other as boyfriends, partners or whatever other term might typically apply to a relationship. We don't have a name for the way we relate to one another other than a line we use out of convenience to describe our relationship to others. "Uh, so who is that guy you hang out with so much?" "We're having an affair that everyone knows about." It seems to best describe the situation to those who aren't us.

I would say that I love the concept of love, but am sort of afraid of the real thing. To me, love means a certain amount of commitment, dedication and trust, which all seem to be good things. Conversely, it also includes the real potential of hurt, heartbreak and sadness, which I am not fond of. People often claim that love and hate are only a step away. The love/ hate dichotomy seems to describe the agony and ecstasy of being in love, but excludes the drama potential of such a situation. I think both the drama and hurt potential increase exponentially in open or polyamorous relationships. So why would anyone bother living like this? Personally it seems more honest to acknowledge and deal with our attractions and loves for people than it does to pretend that we can only love one person on this earth at a time.

Peter, the affair boy, has a theory that sleepiness and exhaustion lead to the desire for monogamy. After all, isn't it wonderful to know you have someone to share a bed with every night? It's comforting and pleasant to have a regular sex partner and most outside people can easily accept that you have a significant other in your life. When you have a number of significant others in your life it takes much more work to make sure everyone is happy and satisfied with how things are going. That doesn't even touch on all the explaining. "How can you date so many people, it doesn't make sense?" Well, it DOES make sense, and it CAN work, if you want it to. A lot of people don't want to bother though, opting for the one-to-one kind of love. I have to admit I am still surprised at how many punks, former punks or other people in general seem to cringe at the idea of multiple partner relations. After all this time, after all the rebellion and progress of the generations before, we as a society, still think monogamy is the shit.

As a general rule, I am not big on labels and classifications, but at the same time I am pretty much obsessed with them and how they work or don't work. I keep coming back to how we use language and how we try and describe ourselves. I would have to say anything I use to describe myself seems to be more practical than anything, more for the benefit of others than any sort or accurate representation. I can maybe best explain this by the way I use the term queer. For all intents and purposes I was raised straight, which doesn't describe my attraction to boys. After a while I would tell people that I am gay. This too is problematic because it doesn't describe my attraction to girls. So then there is bisexual which I find problematic to because it is still based on binaries which leaves out my attraction to people who aren't really boys or girls. And so I call myself queer. Bored yet? I use queer, not because I feel that's what I am, but because it tells people a little something about the ambiguity of my sexual attractions. These days I am less and less interested in defining myself in ANY way that relates to sex. I think people are sexy, not genders.

So, back to the whole polyamory thing. There are a whole bunch of ways in which people describe such relationships. They all say sort of the same thing, but there are definite variations. Non-monogamy, polyamory, open relationship, just plain slutty and so on. I sort of like the term polyamory because it speaks of love, which I am fond of, but at the same time it sort of sounds like a tropical bird or wind pattern, and it isn't defined in terms of monogamy or not. I was wondering how other people view the "polyamory phenomenon," how it fits into this world, how other people deal with it, live it, describe it. Not surprisingly there are many web sites about polyamory out there. It's enough to make a person puke. One of the first sites I came across is called The Polyamory Society which is at: www.polyamorysociety.org. This is a non-profit organization "which promotes and supports the interest of individuals of multipartner relationships and families."

It gets better. Much like every cause in this day, there is a "polyamory awareness and acceptance" ribbon. It's enough to make me never want to utter the word "polyamory" again. You can even make a tax-deductible donation to the Polyamory Society. This all strikes me as being quite odd. It's funny to come across something which you are supposedly a part of which seems completely foreign. Looking at this web site leaves me with icky feelings that polyamorous folks have poor self-esteem and feel like victims to an uncaring society. The site is quite practical and includes tips such as "What to do when a friend or family member chooses the polyamory lovestyle?" There is also helpful advice for people "transitioning to the polyamory lovestyle," as well as handy affirmations such as," I am a unique and special person. There is no one else quite like me in the entire world." This all reminds me a little too much of Stephen Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I wonder if there is a connection.

I feel most annoyed by groups such as the Polyamory Society and a lot of gay groups as there is this victim mentality. Our oppression will bond us. Our segregation will save us. We bear the burdens of a hostile society. All of this may be true to a certain extent, but it always seems so submissive to me. Maybe the vulnerability of it scares me, but it seems that playing the role of the victim only enforces oppression. We are presented with a survival guide of sorts, how to get by in YOUR society rather than disregarding it all together. This is how we live on your terms, this is how we define ourselves in relation to you all. We need to share our stories, we need to talk to each other about our lives and loves, but I would have to say that living polyamorously is never going to be the same as reading about it. The varieties within the concept of polyamory are infinite so to me it seems incredibly daunting, if not down right impossible to make a "rules to live" by for it. Maybe I'm missing the whole point though, and maybe the point to all of this information is to share stories and experiences, maybe it's about recording our histories and our loves. Maybe the business aspect of it is all someone's way of organizing things and just because their story isn't mine doesn't make it any less valuable.

We lie in each other's arms and Peter reveals to me that he fell in love the first night I went home with him. As we talk about life and love he tells me his version of love is the want or desire to be a particular person and that the closest he can reasonably get to that is to hang out with them.

When I lie in David's arms and he talks about falling in love with me. He talks about how I appeared out of nowhere like an answer to a prayer. He tells me that his version of love means that another person's happiness is vital to his own happiness. This seems truly altruistic to me and makes me feel comfortable which can be a rare thing.

My version of love includes, lots of cut out paper hearts, flower petals, ginger marmalade, warm skin, glitter, eating olives, feeding other people, making videos, drinking virgin strawberry daiquiris, snuggling, laughing and hiding from the world together.

"Love is a dangerous angel." -Francesca Lia Block.