“It’s nothing personal, Page,” she says.
We’re sitting in my car. My tiny blue compact, grandma-ed out with a black car bra. Her skin is glowing softly in the parking lot lights flooding into the backseat and just gracing her face.
“What do you mean ‘it’s nothing personal?'” I reply. “You don’t feel the same way about me that I do about you. And that’s huge.”
“Well, that’s not exactly it,” she says. “I just really, really like dick.”
“I know,” I say. And I feel myself getting choked up again.
“Why are you so upset?” she asks.
I sigh. “Because I’m going to miss you.”
She laughs. “Who said we have to break up?”
“You did. You said you miss men. That you can’t be happy with just women.”
“Why do I have to choose?” she asks me pointedly. And she’s looking so beautiful that it’s starting to piss me off.
“If you loved me, I’d be enough. I don’t want to share you,” I say.
We sit in the car for what feels like an eternity. In the silence, I’m starting to regret picking her up from work, as I always do. I want to be the cool girlfriend who doesn’t ever worry about what she’s up to at work. But every time a customer glances her way, I feel my blood boil.
And it doesn’t help that the church across the way is doing its darnedest to turn this strip club into a juice bar. Control by ordinance.
“Funny thing about sharing me,” she says finally.
“You’ve been doing it for a while. You just didn’t know.”
In that moment, I’m sick to my stomach. Humiliated. And yet I still love her.
It happens over and over. The women in my life tell me they can’t be monogamous with me. Some want to see me in secret while they have a boyfriend. But most of them leave me for men.
One really wants children. Says adoption doesn’t count. “And that test tube stuff is icky.”
“I’ve had a lot of fun with you,” another says. “But I really want someone I can bring home to my parents. And I’m sorry, but a chick just wouldn’t fly.”
These are the days before gay marriage is legal. And the bar bi craze has yet to kick off.
I know 3 lesbians total, but we have zero chemistry. And they frown on my occasional attraction to men, however rare. I’m not pure, gold star. I’m bisexual. Confused. Dirty.
I can’t exactly blame them. They’re probably afraid that I’ll do the same thing to them: that I’ll fool around for a bit and turn around and leave them for a man.
Eventually I settle down with a man. It’s a game of musical chairs, and we are the only two left standing.
Seth and I are the only 2 single people our friends know. They set us up on a lark and are mystified when we hit things off.
We are monogamous for 8 years. We both settle a lot. Neither is quite what the other wants. But it’s good to have the company. And he’s straight so probably won’t leave me for a man.
But monogamy is a large compromise for him.
When we discover that friends of ours have been secretly polyamorous for years, it gives me pause. These friends are well adjusted, stable. They have their shit together. It flies in the face of what I believe about non-monogamy. That it’s messy, chaotic. Just asking for trouble.
It occurs to me that maybe I don’t know everything. Especially when it comes to non-monogamy.
And shocking everyone, I change my mind and finally agree to an open relationship with Seth.
We date our friend Megan together. It’s awkward at first, but I fall in love with her.
But she doesn’t feel it back.
“I’ve tried, really tried,” Megan tells me. “But honestly my feelings for Seth are much stronger than my feelings for you, Page.”
“Ah,” I say, and it’s really all I can manage.
“I don’t know what it is,” she says. “It’s like I develop a craving for women one week a month. I never expected it to be like this.”
It’s her first relationship with a woman. Up until this point, she’s been bisexual in theory. So it’s tough to pull apart how much of it is me and how much is her sexual orientation.
“I see,” I say.
“It’s nothing personal,” Megan adds.
And my heart is in my throat again, just like it was in that parking lot all those years ago.
It’s a pervasive insecurity of mine, even after many years of polyamory. Feeling like any woman who dates me is going to tire of me and realize how much more she likes cock than anything I have to offer her.
When Skyspook and I date women together, even though we don’t have a package deal, I often worry that they’re really just in it for Skyspook. And I’m the 4-hour sales pitch for timeshares that someone sits through to earn their free dinner and a show.
I’m hoping that one day I’ll find these worries silly and unfounded. You never know. After all, I’ve had some success with women lately. For now, I’m tentatively optimistic and doing best to push past my fears.
Because Martin is a liar.